From an early age, we learn that parents are the adults who we turn to for help, advice, attention, and care. As our families grow and age, these roles can reverse, and we can start to see our parents as the ones who need that same level of attention and care. Asking for help may be easy for some, however telling a senior loved one that they need help can be uncomfortable. Here are some helpful tips so that you and your family can thoughtfully approach the topic of services for seniors, assisted living, and memory care.
Start the Conversation Early
Pay attention to how the signs of aging affect your senior loved one, rather than waiting until an emergency. Nobody thinks clearly under stress, so it’s best to bring up senior homes in a subtle way when you first notice your loved one may need special attention when it comes to their health. This can often be based on a recent health diagnosis which could require a regimen of prescription medications, or one where their mobility is affected. Chronic illness can not only compromise a seniors health, but their level of independence. When you start the conversation early enough to talk through the changes, it allows your senior loved one to participate and voice their concerns so that they may feel comfortable with the process.
Prepare the Positives
Before you discuss senior homes and assisted living, be sure to prepare a list of talking points that highlight the positives that come with these types of communities. This is a wonderful way to prepare mentally for what could be an uncomfortable conversation, while gaining confidence that it’s the right decision for everyone involved. Focus on the aspect of personalized care like 24/7 nursing, assistance with daily tasks like transportation and hygiene, and access to social activities. Be able to have an honest conversation about how much their life could improve physically, mentally, and socially. In fact, most senior communities offer engaging group activities like game nights, scheduled visits to local shops and restaurants, and book clubs. If these activities aren’t something that they currently engage with on their own, it could be enough to have them look forward to a change of pace and a different home setting.
Another benefit to assisted living is the independence it allows for. Senior communities with 24/7 care take away the responsibilities of life that require extra energy— highlight the little things of independent living that they won’t be bothered with anymore— lawn care, shoveling snow, and cleaning. Senior communities let your loved ones focus on a stage of their life that is meant to be enjoyed in a carefree and safe environment.
Arrange a Visit
The norm is to test drive a car before you buy it, or tour a home before you buy it. This is how we decide If something is the right fit for us. Seniors deserve the same decision making process, and it’s a great way to show them what life would be like once they’re all moved in. Take the time to tour the amenities like the community rooms, surrounding garden areas, and personal living space. Whether virtual or in-person, once they get a feel for the culture and see how social their life can be, it will help ease the moving from their home and comfort zone.
Avoid Information Overload
When presenting an upcoming change as big as moving from independent living to assisted living, make sure to avoid information dumping. Particularly important for those suffering from memory loss and Alzheimer’s, you want to be careful about discussing too much at once which could aggravate or cause your senior loved one added stress. As we discussed earlier, conversations are best had when emotions are neutral, and in turn, the information is better received on the senior’s end. Unless your senior loved one is in danger and needs to be moved to assisted living as soon as possible, it’s best to approach this upcoming change as a series of conversations. Initiating change is a process, and when you’re approaching sensitive topics like dementia help, memory care, assisted living and senior living, be patient and be prepared to revisit the conversation as many times as your senior loved one needs in order to feel comfortable.