Everyone wants to stay in their own homes for as long as they can. So it's not easy to consider moving your elderly parents into assisted living. You must consider many factors before making the crucial decision to move your parents from a home where they've been living for long. Here are the steps you can follow:
Identify the right time to talk to your elderly loved ones about moving
Note physical and mental health concerns
If your parents are suffering from physical problems, note all of them. It could be disorders such as COPD, heart disease, diabetes, or high BP. You must also consider diseases such as pneumonia and injuries caused by falls or accidents. Your loved ones can't heal these issues themselves and they may require additional assistance.
Make a note of any mental disorders as well. If you notice anything abnormal, such as anxiety, depression or forgetfulness, note them. Such mental problems can progress over time. The main indications of mental distress are:
- Forgetting appointments and dates
- Trouble recalling names
- Difficulty with routine or day-to-day tasks
- Challenges in solving or planning problems
- Struggling to tell time
- General confusion
- Inability to visualize images
- Difficulty with writing and/or speech
- Withdrawal from friendships and social activities
- Changes in mood, behavior and/or personality
Observe if your elderly parents have trouble managing their daily activities
Notice if your aging parents have trouble managing their daily activities. A study conducted by the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) says more than 54 percent of elderly people (aged 85 or above) require some assistance with the activities of daily living (ADLs). If your loved ones have difficulty in some of the following tasks, it's time to consider moving them into assisted living:
- Navigating stairs
- Maintaining house and yard clean
- Paying bills
- Taking medications
- Tending plants or pets
Examine the change in physical appearance
If your senior family member appears unkempt, it may be a sign of some problematic medical conditions. Investigate more into the issue.
Talk with your parents' doctors
Talk with the doctors of your elderly parents to get a professional recommendation. Their doctor could provide specific medical insight on what may be the best option for your loved ones. You may also ask them for referral of various assisted living communities or other senior care options.
Research All Available Options
Hiring in-home healthcare
Moving your elderly parents into a senior care facility may not necessarily be the best option for them. If they can still live independently but simply require a minor help in their day-to-day activities, an in-home nurse or health aide might be a suitable option. The advantage of hiring an in-home aide is that your parents can still live in their own home where they are likely to be most comfortable. However, this is not the right option for people who lack social connections or report frequent feelings of loneliness.
Installing personal alarm systems
This could be a good option if your aging parents are still able to manage a healthy lifestyle but you are concerned about their safety. The system can be worn on them so that they can call for assistance whenever there is an emergency.
Visiting retirement communities
There are different types of retirement communities. These communities are suitable for people who can live an independent life-style. They can also provide personalized care for each resident. Apart from providing physical assistance, retirement communities also offer a variety of social activities. Consider what your loved ones require to live a healthy and happy life style.
Reviewing assisted living
As of 2010, at least 735000 Americans live in assisted living communities. These communities are designed for long term or short term care for seniors or disabled. Assisted living facilities can help your loved one live a more active life style. There will be professional caregivers to assist your loved with activities of daily living, managing medication, coordinating with outside healthcare providers, and participating in organized social and recreational activities. Assisted living would be the best option if you think your parents need more assistance than you are able to provide them with.
Some elderly people may require specialty care assisted living facilities. These facilities provide specialized help to people with unique disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. If your loved one has a special condition or need, check if the facility you consider offers specialized care.
Have the conversation
Have frequent talks with your elderly parents
Don't simply announce the idea of moving your parents into assisted living out of the blue. It may hurt them so badly. You must be honest about the concerns. Make the conversation in a polite and respectful manner. You may ask questions such as "dad, shall we talk about the future? I understand that you are having difficulty climbing stairs. Wouldn't it be better if you were to live someplace easier to navigate?"
Ask your loved ones what they like
Your parents themselves may have been thinking it's time for a change. Before offering suggestions and making demands, ask about their needs and wishes. Here are some example conversations:
"Have you ever thought about moving to someplace where you will be safer and healthier?"
"Where do you see yourself in the coming years?"
Be calm and patient
You can't make a good decision in stressful or chaotic situations and in the heat of anger. Don't force your views on your elderly parents without explaining them regarding all the available options and knowing their opinions.
Make logical decisions
By researching, evaluating, and presenting facts, you can take emotion out of decision-making. Try and assess the facts as much as possible rather than making a solely emotional decision.
Understand your elderly parents may refuse or resist
Your ill-parents may not be willing to make a move into assisted living. They may vehemently oppose the idea in the beginning. You must stay calm and keep the discussion open. You can gradually convince them that it's time to move into assisted living.