Have you noticed your parents are beginning to struggle with the tasks of daily life? Perhaps it’s becoming more of a challenge for them to shop for groceries and cook healthy meals. Or maybe you worry about them bathing, handling their bills or what would happen if one of them fell.
As we grow older, there can be a level of decline. Here are a few of the more common areas where a helping hand is often appreciated:
Keeping up with home maintenance
Although these are all common situations, many adult children find themselves delaying conversations about their parents continuing to live at home. Generally fearing that the discussion will be upsetting or may be met with refusal, it becomes easier to avoid.
Unfortunately, many other families have found themselves having this talk after a crisis has occurred and few choices are left to make.
Two important rules for all adult children to remember:
1. It’s so much better to talk to your parents early – and often.
2. Don’t wait until your parent is in crisis to discuss their living arrangements.
Those who can make this a topic of casual conversation find that it takes away some of the emotion. Asking how your parents feel about staying in their home as they grow older or if they could use a little help around the house acknowledges the possible effects of aging without feeling threatening.
Also, if you wait too long, the conversation may be required. If your parent becomes injured or ill and hospitalized for example, the doctor’s discharge may not allow a return home alone. The time to find the best community and help your parent become comfortable with the decision is now gone.
Set your expectations realistically and recognize that this is a life changing event. But with preparation, planning and thoughtfulness, families can come through this together.
Consider these tips to help make the conversation go as easy and stress-free as possible.
Before you begin talking to your parent, plan ahead, including what you’ll want to say. Learn as much as you can about the services and benefits that assisted living can offer. Try to anticipate their questions or possible objections and be able to answer them.
Only you know what might work best for your parent so consider how to increase the chances of success. Is it better if all of the siblings come home or would this feel more like coercion? Would visiting a community early on help them to make their decision or feel like they were being pressured.
For anyone, moving is a major event and can stir up emotions. But your parents moving into an assisted living community can bring up strong reactions from both the parents and the adult children.
It can be difficult for the family to admit their parents are growing older and need help. It can be distressing for the parents to acknowledge that this time has come.
On the other hand, don’t act as if this is a simple solution and shouldn’t cause any conflicted feelings. For your parents, this move represents much more than just changing their address or where they live. Acknowledge that and spend some time helping them express how they feel.
What we hear may not be the true message being conveyed. If your parents object to moving, try to find out what they’re really concerned about. But if you’ve assumed this will be a battle, you may be surprised to learn that your parent has actually been afraid or feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities.
Unless they truly aren’t capable of making this decision, it should be theirs to make. You can only go so far in encouraging or pleading with them to make this move. Look for a compromise if their first answer is no. Maybe services could be brought into the home or you all agree to revisit the issue in six months.
A great way to illustrate how much easier their life will be is to match the concerns of today with the advantages of assisted living.
If they’re having trouble bathing, assistance is there. If they’re feeling bored or lonely, show them a monthly calendar of events. If they no longer are eating well, arrange to have a lunch at the community.
Some parents fear that once they move into a community their children will no longer come around as much. Assure them that the great news is that now all of you can spend quality time together having fun or sharing meaningful activities – and not worrying or in making home repairs.
Assisted living can encourage your loved one to remain engaged and participate fully in life, while receiving the helping hand they may need with the activities of daily living. But we do understand the conversations and decisions can be difficult and we’re here to help.
The role at Ingleside’s Westminster at Lake Ridge Assisted Living is to support our residents to live their best life possible. The residences, activities and amenities are tailored to meet their preferences. And the benefits don’t stop there.
Privacy, assistance whenever needed, delicious chef-prepared meals and scheduled transportation are among the advantages we offer. Your loved one will feel right at home in the spacious living suite with its own bathroom and large walk-in shower. Meeting and making new friends with our programs and social opportunities will occur easily.
If you would like more information about assisted living, please download our free resource, Just the Facts: Your Guide to Assisted Living.
Please call (703) 420-7105 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personalized tour today.