Change is hard. We humans are hardwired to value familiarity while resisting any major change. Remember how scary it was for you to move away for higher studies? So, suggesting a change as big as moving out of one’s home to one or both parents is bound to be met with resistance at first. This is especially easy to empathize with when you consider the likely fact that this is the home that your parents built – lovingly and painstakingly. However, sometimes such a change is not only necessary, it is for the good of all concerned. Assisted living facilities now provide excellent alternatives to living in one’s own home so long as you make a wise choice, and avoid some of these pitfalls and mistakes when moving a parent into assisted living:
Expecting it to be easy.
As we established, change is never easy or welcome. It is also a fact that the homes that we own are representative of a lot: our lifestyle, our professional success, sense of aesthetic, pride of ownership. So you must expect at least some resistance to the idea about moving to assisted care without taking it personally. Calmly explain the many problems of looking after a large independent house and the dangers of older, frailer person(s) living there unattended. Upkeep and maintenance of a home is difficult and expensive; making elder-friendly modifications to the home and furniture even more so. Explain how continuing to live at home can be isolating and lonely and how a compact assisted living facility with help and supervision along with a community of similar, like-minded people can be safer, more enriching and enjoyable.
Convincing your parent(s) is not the only difficulty you can expect. Considering all the various facilities Elkton, MD, visiting several and then making the right decision will also be difficult. There may be things that you and your parent(s) don’t agree in terms of which facility is best suited to their needs. There could be financial issues to discuss and overcome as well. Assisted living facilities can be expensive; another difficulty could be finding the financial resources for it. This can also cause friction in the family or between siblings; something else you would have to navigate with patience and sensitivity. The silver lining in all of this will be knowing in your heart that this is best for your parent(s). They will be able to lead the later years of their life in loving and caring company, doing activities they enjoy without having to manage chores and housework.
Many people tend to feel guilty about moving their parent or parents into assisted living. In the past, senior communities tended to be depressing places; so at least some of this guilt owes itself to the misconceptions that senior communities are full of sad, neglected old people. Modern assisted living facilities are vibrant, cheerful places where residents enjoy meaningful social interaction and stimulating activities. So banish the idea that assisted living is anything to be guilty about. There is also no need to feel guilty about wanting to move your parent to assisted living if you feel that caring for them is too much for you at this point in your life. If in your 40s or 50s you don’t want the physical and mental stress of looking after an older person or don’t want to experience constant anxiety about their health, this is perfectly understandable. Self-care is important for you too. And after a point, giving too much of yourself, your time and emotional resources drains and depletes you as a person.
Acting out of desperation.
Try to take a decision about assisted living well in time. Don’t wait until a crisis situation: when an accident, illness or infirmity overwhelms you and you feel simply unable to cope. That sort of stressful situation is not conducive to wise decision making. So make a decision as soon as you notice that your loved one seems to need help or appears lonely. Take a considered, fully informed decision because the right assisted space can make all the difference to their health and overall wellness. The right home can transform their later years into some of the best of their life.
Refusing to get professional help.
Consider consulting a geriatric care manager; this can be a worthwhile investment that could save you money and stress in the long term. This has two benefits: firstly such a professional will give you unbiased guidance, help you figure out whether and when a move is necessary, and recommend the most suitable places. Secondly, a parent may be more inclined to listen to a professional rather than someone from the family.
Expecting too much.
While the benefits of moving to assisted living are many and well documented, it is important to understand the limitations inherent in the situation. In some cases, residents of assisted living facilities do find it necessary to hire additional help depending upon individual requirements and health situations. Remember assisted living is not the same as a nursing home. Seniors enjoy significant autonomy in assisted living places; they enjoy being part of a small but intimate, lively community with stimulating activities to keep them active and mentally fit.
So, make the decision on time and without guilt. Clarify your financial situation and have realistic expectations. If required consult with a professional to make the right decision for all concerned. Your parents deserve care, comfort and companionship in their later years. Help them transition into this new phase of life with optimism and zest.