Moments of transition are often difficult, combining logistical and emotional hardship and straining the fabric of key relationships. Moving your parents out of their homes is an especially hard process, and you’re hardly alone if you’re struggling with the tough choices that this adaptation requires.
Everybody involved in the process will feel better if you make your decisions with ample information on your side. That’s why it’s so important to understand every option before committing to a final choice.
When older people are no longer capable of living on their own, there are two main options available to them. One is called assisted living, and it involves caregivers providing daily assistance to people who continue to conduct much of their lives independently.
The other is called long-term care, and it often occurs in a nursing home where staff members provide much more intensive, personal assistance.
Knowing more about each of these options will help you decide which type of caregiving service is right for your parents. As long as you place them in a program that adequately and appropriately meets their needs, there’s no reason they can’t continue to thrive in their new surroundings.
What is assisted living?
Assisted living communities are designed for people who can still complete many daily tasks on their own. Residents can maintain the same habits and routine they enjoyed when they were living in their homes. Rather than defaulting to a hands-on approach, staff members will simply make themselves available to provide assistance whenever it’s needed.
Each place has its own norms and services, but most assisted living arrangements can help seniors with the following tasks:
Most residents in assisted living communities have their own apartments or condos, allowing them to maintain their privacy and independence. Couples can usually live together, guests can come and go as they please, and personal possessions create a genuine feeling of home.
In many cases, residents can forget that they’re in a special program altogether. In essence, the space feels like a normal apartment complex, but with the added benefit that help is always available.
One downside to certain assisted living services is that they lack the capacity for intensive medical care. With that being said, most employ a full-time nurse who can immediately give limited medical assistance. Assisted living neighborhoods are usually fitted with alerts, alarms, and other life-saving pieces of equipment, and emergency care is always available through partnerships with local hospitals.
Within Ingleside’s Life Plan Communities, residents benefit from progressive levels of support on-site, and can count on the availability of highly skilled professionals at all times.
What Is long-term care?
Long-term care programs, also called skilled nursing or nursing homes, are designed to provide more comprehensive levels of care. They can meet the challenges of residents with more specific medical needs, and they’re staffed by large teams of medical professionals. This dynamic allows them to properly nurse and assist residents who need constant medical attention.
The staff can perform all the same duties as assisted living complexes while also providing more specialized services, such as:
These types of tasks require in-depth training and considerable attention to detail. Residents live in constant contact with caregivers and other patients.
In some locations, entering a long-term care program can be a slightly bureaucratic process. Before your parents can make the move to a nursing home, they must prove their eligibility. These standards ensure that specialized care is reserved for those who most need it.
Life Plan Communities present an advantage in such situations since they offer a complete continuum of care, whether your parent is fully independent or requires skilled, 24-hour nursing.
Deciding what’s right for your parent
When choosing between assisted living and a nursing home, the most important factor is the level of care your parents will require. As you’re making the decision, make sure you and your parents engage in an honest, open dialogue. Ultimately, they’ll have to determine their own future. Your job is to act as an informed, loving advisor.
Urge your parents to think long and hard about the level of independence they’re capable of maintaining. Get specific, addressing separately their ability to take medication, prepare meals, use the bathroom, wash themselves, and move around the home. If they think they can complete these tasks with only occasional help, then assisted living is probably the best option.
Guiding your parents through this type of transition is never easy. No one likes to give up their freedoms, and no adult enjoys seeing their parents move into a more restrictive environment. As you navigate these difficult waters, don’t forget that you’re making all these decisions with a loving heart and your parents’ best interests in mind.
With the right information available, you can make the choice that best suits your parents and helps them enjoy their later years with dignity and joy.
Ingleside’s Life Plan Communities in the Washington metropolitan area are committed to engaged living, giving residents access to a complete continuum of care as their needs change over time. Contact us to find out more and schedule a visit today.