Deciding to help your loved one move to a senior care facility is not easy. Different circumstances lead to this decision, but it is usually for the best.
Talking to them about senior care is tough because moving to a senior living facility is often viewed as a permanent blow to an elder’s independence. Most seniors avoid discussing this topic because of the fear of being forced into a senior care home.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to postpone the conversation about senior care facilities as someone gets older. In most circumstances, these conversations follow an accident or medical crisis, which necessitates a higher level of care.
The following information will help guide a family through the initial discussion.
TAKE THE TIME TO RESEARCH THE DIFFERENT SENIOR HOUSING OPTIONS
Before talking to your elderly loved one about senior care options, it is crucial to do some research. There are many different types of senior living settings and various levels of care.
- Senior care facilities include:
- Retirement homes
- Assisted living facilities
- Independent living options
The cost varies significantly, and the first step while researching facilities should be to know your loved one’s level of care and financial situation.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation produces senior housing reports outlining vacancy rates and rents across the country.
Part of the research should also include what type of care your loved one needs, or they may not need any extra care. Many seniors live entirely independently, while many others require assistance with daily living activities.
Finally, your research should involve visiting the facility and meeting the staff and even residents. Ensuring the senior care facility is well-equipped is important and provides top-notch care and service.
KEEP YOUR LOVED ONES INVOLVED IN ALL DECISIONS, BUT MAKE FUTURE PLANS A TOPIC OF ONGOING DISCUSSION
Talking about the subject of senior care early and discussing the future does not force the subject on them but rather explores options.
The conversation can be viewed as an evolving process where everyone’s opinions are heard, and they are involved in all decision-making. Nothing has to be decided at that moment, but it is important to start the discussion.
Planning for the future should always be a topic of conversation, but it does become difficult as you become older. Consider the following when talking about the future:
- Most people want to be able to choose where they live and the kind of care they receive.
- Age does not change this preference, which means your parents or loved ones should be involved in the decision process.
- Take them when visiting the facilities or retirement communities.
- Speak with the residents and staff, and even have a meal there or stay the night—which some facilities accommodate.
- We always want to provide the best possible care and help for our loved ones and or parents, but this does not mean pushing them out of the decision-making process.
The discussion should also involve identifying the what-ifs, like illness, injury, and death. These are the realities of getting older, and they are difficult conversations to have but important ones.
RESEARCH THE PROGRESSION OF ILLNESS, BUT RECOGNIZE WHY THEY WOULD WANT TO STAY AT HOME
Suppose your loved one has been diagnosed with a chronic illness that has the potential to become progressively worse. In that case, it is vital to learn about how it will progress.
Many age-related illnesses impact seniors’ ability to stay home and continue to manage daily activities of life. The information you gather from their doctor should be discussed and considered when searching for senior care facilities.
It is also essential to find the right facility, whether assisted living or long-term care, or make the necessary arrangements at their home with homecare.
However, not every senior will suffer from a chronic illness, and many live long and healthy lives. Most healthy and mobile seniors want to stay in their homes as they age. Moving or downsizing comes with physical and emotional stress, and many seniors are afraid of leaving behind what they know.
Additionally, there is the anxiety of leaving a community and the emotional ties to the family home. A home is something to be cherished, and leaving so many memories behind can be emotional. Many older adults struggle with the fear of the unknown, which often keeps seniors in their homes who can no longer manage to live alone.
These concerns are valid, and when speaking to your loved one about senior care, these concerns must be considered.