One of the most difficult things for an adult child to navigate is how to help an aging parent when they require assistance with the activities of daily living. From broaching the subject to finding the community best suited to meet their needs currently and long-term, there is a lot to consider.
If you’re wrestling with this subject, you’re not alone. Every day, adult children are delving into the “when, what, where and how” questions that accompany this complex topic.
So, when is the best time to start the conversation?
The earlier the better! Studies show that 7 out of 10 seniors will require long-term care. Instead of waiting until you’re dealing with a “crisis” situation, proactively address the subject with your parent(s). By approaching the conversation with honesty and care, you’re likely to have a productive and harmonious outcome.
Keep in mind that aging, declining health and memory loss can be sensitive subjects and conversations surrounding them can be emotionally charged. But imagine just how much more emotional they will be if you’re trying to tackle the conversation in the middle of handling an issue or emergency.
How do you broach the subject with your parents?
If you start to notice mom is not keeping her house as clean as she once did. Or dad is forgetting when and how to take his regular medication. Or perhaps your loved one has made comments about grooming and dressing being more challenging, or they’re feeling lonely – these are great conversation starters.
By asking your parent how they feel when faced with these issues, you can start a dialogue about what care options are available. The most important part of this process is to listen to your loved one’s preferences and needs.
Where do you start the search?
Once you understand more about the needs and preferences of your parent(s), start exploring your local senior living options online. Not only does it provide you with a tremendous amount of information about available communities, it does so in a non-committing, non-threatening way. Share what you find with your loved one, and together whittle down options before scheduling a personal tour of the communities on your list.
What should you look for in an assisted living community?
A lot of communities tout a long list of activities and social happenings. But you need to dig deeper to find out how they engage and support their residents by using the Six Dimensions of Wellness, which are physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, occupational and social.
What resources are available to provide care?
In addition to engaging the whole person, you will want to find out how they provide and deliver care. Do they provide all services in the community and/or do they work with outside agencies (such as rehabilitative or hospice care) for additional services. Be sure to also ask how they hire and train their caregivers and how they deliver care to residents.
The fact of the matter is that a caregiver’s relationship with residents is and cherished one. You want to make certain they are treating your loved one with dignity, respect and helping them to optimize their independence. But don’t just take their word for it. Take some time to enjoy a meal or activity in the community and talk with residents and associates. You and your loved one will learn a wealth of information and get a real feel for the community.
The bottom line, no matter where you are in your conversation or search for an assisted living community, know that MBK Senior Living associates are ready to be a resource to you. We welcome you to call us. You can find a complete list of our communities and phone numbers on our website at www.mbkseniorliving.com.