As more people are living longer, more and more kids are needing to face a time when their elderly parents are struggling to live on their own. Due to medical conditions, financial concerns, and simple facts of aging, adult children may begin to wonder if their parents would be more comfortable, safer, and healthier by moving to an assisted living home.
Whether or not that is appropriate is going to vary from family to family and person to person. It’s important that conversations about assisted living and other important family events not happen in anger; adult children need to be calm when they discuss these sorts of changes and understand that their elderly parents may be very concerned or even afraid about leaving their homes.
Consider some of these factors when thinking about whether assisted living might be appropriate for the parent in question.
Would relocation fix the problem?
Sometimes, elderly parents are still living in the home where they raised their families and have lived for many years. The home may be too big for them to maintain, or it might have too many stairs and obstacles to manage. If these are the only complications, it may be more appropriate for the elderly parent to simply move to a single floor apartment or condo. This may also help to preserve finances for years to come.
Do medical needs allow for support at home?
The medical community is acknowledging that for many seniors, the transition to assisted living is traumatic and may result in decreased health. Accordingly, home health is a rapidly growing industry that focuses on helping seniors stay in their homes as long as possible. Home health nurses can help with many medical concerns, while live-in attendants can help with tasks like cleaning, cooking, and providing company to the elderly parent.
For a parent who has more significant needs than their adult child can manage, but doesn’t have such serious medical needs that they need around-the-clock care, support at home may be both financially responsible and the best solution. Many state health insurances will also help to pay for in-home support since it is in their best interests to keep the elderly out of nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Ability To Manage Daily Living Tasks?
There are limits to what in-home attendances and home health nurses are able to do. If an elderly parent is struggling to bathe and dress themselves, struggles to manage daily bathroom routines, or their health is deteriorating because they aren’t able to take their medications or monitor things like blood pressure or blood sugar on their own, it may be appropriate to consider assisted living as a viable option.
Changing Physical Appearance?
Sometimes asking elderly parents about how they’re doing at home can be complicated. Knowing that their deteriorating status may encourage adult children to change their living situation, seniors may try to hide or mask their struggles. Adult children should watch, therefore, for certain signs that their parent isn’t as healthy as they could be. If they aren’t bathing regularly, for example, or they begin to have bruises or other physical injuries, these may be signs that they aren’t doing as well at home as they may say they are.
Other Options Insufficient?
When all other options are insufficient, it may be time to consider discussing the possibility of relocating with an elderly parent. Adult children should be calm and sensitive during these conversations. Remember that it’s not just possible, but likely, that seniors will be upset at the idea of moving.
If they’ve lived in their home for a long time, they may be distraught at the number of changes that will be involved. They may be concerned about letting go of meaningful possessions. They may be concerned that they’ll lose their social circle when they move.
There are many ways to help assuage fears and calm nerves. Instead of saying flat out what is going to happen, adult children can ask questions. “Do you ever think about moving somewhere where you’ll be safer,” or “Wouldn’t it be nice not to have to worry about cleaning or cooking anymore?” may get to a better place than simply informing someone that they’ll be moving.
It may also be helpful to talk to an elderly parent’s doctor to get an idea of whether or not they think assisted living is the right choice. They may have resources that can be accessed that adult children may not be aware of, and that may help keep seniors in their homes longer. In general, assisted living is more expensive than home health options, so if seniors can safely stay at home, this is often the better choice.