There is rarely a single, solitary event that brings us to consider moving a loved one into an assisted living care setting. It is a decision that carries with it a lot of weight and sometimes even feelings of guilt for those unable to meet the growing needs of their loved one. However, such a move has the potential to alleviate stress for everyone involved. It can allow you to step outside of the role of caregiver and back into that of a child, spouse, etc. Even so, bringing up the topic is not easy and there are many questions to consider before these conversations take place.
First, it is important to understand what circumstances or dynamics may contribute to making a move to assisted living – is in-home care too expensive, is there declining health or a risk of falls, is there increased incontinence, or are there problems with loneliness and boredom? By knowing the source of present difficulties, you can find opportunities to bring up solutions that would make different aspects of everyday life easier and with better quality. Supplement this step by doing some preliminary research on local assisted living communities, board and care homes, or other care options by reaching out to an information or referral service like Senior Care Solutions. This will equip you with examples of the modern services and amenities that many of these communities offer nowadays.
Next, identify your support system or choose individuals that you can trust to help you process all the information and feelings – this can be friends, family, neighbors, clergy, or even a therapist if there are complex issues requiring the assistance of a professional. Who among them is the best communicator or has the best relationship with your loved one? Sometimes, someone who is not the primary caregiver can have more success facilitating conversations about moving, as they can make outside observations about the current situation and how it could be made better. As such, proactive family discussions can allow everyone to bring up their concerns regarding current or future living arrangements and what a possible move would look like, without the pressure of a looming crisis in the background.
The first few conversations may not feel the most successful but having a consistent and knowledgeable approach can make the idea of moving to an assisted living community less of a frightening unknown. Feeling rushed or as if the decision has already been made could make your loved one resistant and resentful, so patience is crucial. It’s important to understand there could be a variety of reasons to be hesitant about such a change – prior negative notions about senior communities, missing friends and family, or even the freedom to have a drink with dinner – so finding ways to address those concerns appropriately could go a long way in establishing trust and best intentions.
One of the best ways to dispel these concerns is to begin touring a few different assisted living options, whether large or residential, with some questions in hand. Working with an experienced local referral service can make this process much simpler, as they narrow down the range of options according to what is currently available, what is within the budget, and what is best for your loved one’s care needs. There are no obligations or expectations to make any final decisions while out on a tour, but it helps give a broader picture of the daily activities and natural pace of a community or home. In cases of dementia, other approaches may be necessary as there can be less ability to reason with memory loss. Not to mention, a move cannot be forced unless someone is deemed incompetent with a durable power of attorney in place to make their healthcare decisions. However, no matter the circumstances, the most important thing is to maintain open communication and be honest about your own needs and abilities when it comes to providing care.
When it comes time to research care options, choosing to work with a reputable referral agency will provide you with the resources, education and guidance you need to find the most appropriate care for your loved one. Our Family Consultants are also able to discuss further strategize regarding having conversations about senior living.
Simply complete an online inquiry or call Senior Care Solutions (916) 965-5565 to make a connection with one of our Family Consultants. We look forward to hearing from you!
Written by Taylor Flynn