Is It Time For Your Family Member To Move Into Assisted Living? Use These Expert Tips To Help Your Aging Loved One
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Although inevitable, one of the most difficult periods in life is seeing an aging loved one’s health decline. Whether sudden or gradual, the emotional pain is still the same. For a variety of reasons (including the difficulty you may be having with accepting the situation), it can be challenging to know if now is the right time for your loved one to move into assisted living.
The Livingston County Consortium on Aging shares several indicators that it is definitely time for your loved one to move into assisted care, and how to help them with this life change.
Significant health and behavior issues
Seniors who are experiencing significant chronic health issues — including heart problems, Alzhemier’s disease, or mobility problems — will eventually reach a point where it is no longer safe to stay at home. Even if this individual lives with a spouse or another family member, there is only so much that can be handled without professional assistance. If your loved one has required multiple emergency trips to the hospital in recent months, if their caregiver is unable to meet their medical needs, or if their condition does not seem to be well-managed, it is important for them to move into an assisted living facility right away so they can receive the proper care.
Additionally, if your loved one is beginning to exhibit troubling behaviors such as significant memory loss/confusion about basic details, wandering from home, or neglecting basic health and hygiene needs, now is definitely an appropriate time to have a conversation about assisted care. Behaviors like these can present a major safety issue, which can lead to severe injury or death.
Not all seniors moving into assisted living have severe health issues. For some, there is a need for assisted care due to living alone. If your loved one cannot consistently prepare their own meals, handle household tasks, remember to take their medication, or safely move about the house, assisted living becomes a necessity.
After consistently witnessing your family member struggle to meet their basic needs while living alone, you should plan to speak with them about moving into assisted care. While some individuals will insist they can continue living alone, it is important to help them break through their pride and anxiety to keep them safe.
How to have a productive conversation
Once you’ve determined that your senior loved one needs assisted care, it is important to decide how you will bring up this sensitive topic. Depending on the individual, this conversation may be fairly simple. However, in many cases, emotions will run high.
Above everything, approach this conversation with love, kindness, and compassion. No one wants to give up their independence, and while you know this is the right decision, your family member may not be convinced. Have the expectation that your loved one will be feeling a flurry of emotions. Also, do not take hurtful words personally. Remain calm and confident, and enlist the help of other family members when possible.
Helping your family member begin the process of moving
After your loved one has agreed to move into assisted care, serve as a resource for them. From packing boxes, to organizing a garage sale, to simply being there to listen, do whatever you can to make this transition easier. Additionally, if your family member is concerned about paying for assisted living, suggest using the proceeds from the sale of their home to cover costs. If they would like to use this option, research home prices prior to selling to get an accurate idea of how much they will make from the sale.
On top of addressing the needs of your senior loved one, be sure to take care of your own needs through this entire process. Helping a family member in decline is emotionally and physically draining, so it becomes more crucial than ever to eat a healthy diet, exercise, and practice self-care.
Livingston County Consortium on Aging is a group dedicated to advocacy, networking, and direct outreach related to the local senior population. Learn more about us and our membership program.