As we grow older, everyday tasks start to become a little more difficult. The need for assistance with daily living activities is a perfectly normal part of aging that most of us will experience at some point in our lives.
Assisted living can be a blessing to seniors who need assistance with their daily activities but want to remain as independent as possible. As a family member, there’s a lot you can do to help your senior loved one choose the best living arrangement for their care needs and lifestyle. Here are some things to keep in mind as you navigate this tough decision together.
Choose a Facility Together
Choosing an assisted living facility for your loved one can be very challenging. It’s a good idea to start this search before extra care becomes an immediate necessity. This way, you’ll have plenty of time to review your options and scrutinize your top choices. Make sure you involve your senior loved one in all of the decisions that come up along the way. You can also bring their doctor into the conversation and ask for their input—they might suggest alternatives like skilled nursing or memory care for your loved one.
When reviewing assisted living facilities, base your search on preferred specific room types, and look for amenities that your loved one would like. This will also help you narrow down your options to facilities within your budget. While cost shouldn’t be the only factor you consider in this decision, it’s certainly important.
Find out if your loved one owns a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. If they do, it will give them additional resources to pay for care.
Watch for Signs That It’s Time for Assisted Living
Seniors may display certain behavioral signs that assisted living would be beneficial for them. For example, you may notice that your loved one has started to neglect certain household chores, social responsibilities, or personal hygiene. Mobility limitations may also indicate that it’s time for assisted living, especially if your loved one lives alone. Mobility challenges can be extremely dangerous and even life-threatening. While there are steps you can take to prevent falls, they may not be enough to ensure your loved one’s safety. You may also notice specific mental or emotional changes in your loved one. A move may be helpful if your loved one is experiencing memory problems. Keep an eye out for these signs so you can help your loved one get the care they need.
If you are a caregiver to your loved one, pay attention to signs that you could use some help. According to Aging In Place, nearly half of all family caregivers have a hard time balancing their work and personal lives with providing for their senior loved ones. While most caregivers state that caring for their loved one is worthwhile, stress is common among this group of selfless individuals. If you’re feeling strained, moving your loved one into assisted living may be in everyone’s best interest.
Be Sensitive and Compassionate
If you start to notice signs that your loved one would benefit from extra care, be gentle about broaching the subject with them. It’s common for seniors to feel stressed or anxious about moving into an assisted living facility. After all, AARP reports that 76 percent of adults want to age in place. Accepting that this may not be possible can be very discouraging.
Try to be patient and sensitive during assisted living conversations. At first, your loved one may be resistant to the idea of moving out of their home. Ask them questions about why they don’t want to accept care. They may have concerns about privacy, autonomy, or cost. Listen carefully to their concerns and respond in a caring and understanding manner. Through productive conversations, you two can work out solutions and ensure that your loved one’s assisted living care does not interfere with their desire for independence.
Moving into an assisted living facility is more of a process than an event. Don’t try to rush this tough decision. Try to view the process from their point of view! If you would feel overwhelmed, stressed, or frustrated in their situation, there’s a good chance that they do as well. Give your senior loved one time to reach a decision so they can enjoy a seamless transition into their new living environment.
After her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Lydia Chan found herself struggling to balance the responsibilities of caregiving and her own life. Nowadays, she is passionate about sharing her knowledge and experiences with caregivers and seniors. She is the co-creator of Alzheimer’s Caregiver, a website that aims to provide tips and resources to help caregivers.