How to Help Your Parents Transition into Assisted Living
As they age, our parents may need some help with daily tasks. If an elderly loved one becomes unable to take care of themselves due to physical or mental impairment, it might be time to have the long-term care conversation. Eventually, your loved one may need expert care that you are unable to provide. In fact, about 52% of people over 65 will require long-term care services.
If your aging parent is exhibiting signs of dementia, or other health problems, here is how to start your long-term care search.
How to Talk to Your Parents About Long-Term Care
It can be difficult to decide to move a parent into a long-term care facility, but in some cases, it is the best option for their health and well-being. It’s important to include them in this decision, and have an open and honest conversation with them about what to expect. Let them know that they have your support throughout the entire process.
Even though talking about assisted living can be uncomfortable, make sure you approach the conversation in a friendly and understanding way. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Bring up the matter before it’s necessary. This gives your loved one time to process and consider the issue.
- Include them in conversations you have with the rest of the family.
- Encourage your loved one to be flexible with their plans.
- Consider using a social worker or geriatric care manager as a third party.
- Begin by talking about “senior living communities” or “assisted living facilities” instead of jumping straight to nursing homes.
- Don’t catch them off guard, or make them feel like their being ambushed or ganged up on.
- If your loved one simply doesn’t want to talk about it, don’t press the issue; move on.
How to Decide What Level of Care is Right for Your Loved One
There are a variety of long-term care facilities available for your parents, including:
- Adult Day Care. An organized schedule of activities in a setting of professional care is known as adult day care, and it is intended for elderly people who need daytime supervision or who are solitary and lonely. Seniors can mingle and take part in organized activities in a group environment at adult daycare facilities while still receiving low-level care. This gives family caregivers a break from their caring responsibilities while giving them peace of mind that their loved one is safe.
- In-Home Aids. Homemaker services are offered to old, ill, or disabled people through in-home aids. Their care often plays a significant role in a person’s ability to stay in her own home rather than having to relocate to a facility. In-home health aids can provide medical care as well.
- Assisted Living Facilities. A residential alternative for senior citizens who require assistance with some daily activities, such as preparing meals, using the restroom, cleaning, and going to appointments, is assisted living. Assisted living facilities are a great option for seniors that require more personal care services than you can find at home, but still want to live as independently as possible. Some assisted living facilities can provide advanced medical care, while others cannot.
- Nursing homes. The highest quality of care for senior citizens outside of a hospital is typically found in a nursing home. Custodial care, which includes assistance with getting in and out of bed, feeding, bathing, and dressing, is offered by nursing homes. Nursing homes provide a high degree of medical care as well, which sets them apart from other senior housing options.
- Rehabilitation centers. Facilities for senior rehabilitation are created to assist seniors recovering from an injury or major medical event to lessen pain and increase function. Facilities for senior rehabilitation frequently offer services like speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. These facilities can be found in a hospital or in a nursing home.
Each facility has its own unique set of services and amenities, so it is important to do your research and find one that best meets your loved one’s needs.
Questions to Ask When Touring Long-Term Care Facilities
When touring a long-term care facility, it is important to ask the following questions:
- What services and amenities do the facility offer?
- What is the cost of residency?
- What is the length of stay minimum/maximum?
- What are their policies on visitors?
- What are their policies on overnight guests?
- What are their policies on bringing pets?
- What are their policies on leaving the facility for short periods?
- What dining options are available?
- What activities are available to residents?
- What does the facility not provide that residents need to bring with them?
Make sure you talk to current residents about their experience. If your tour guide doesn’t want you to talk to residents, that should be a major red flag!
As you’re researching and touring facilities, make sure to keep in mind your parent’s needs and your budget. If you want to be able to visit often, you should also take into account how far away the facility is from your home.
Moving Your Parent into a Long-Term Care Facility
Once you’ve selected a facility and it’s time to move in, make sure you have a conversation with your loved one about what to expect. Stay present throughout the move-in process and offer emotional support.
After everything has been arranged, you should stay in contact with the long-term care facility to make sure your loved one’s needs are being met. Moving your parent into a long-term care facility can be a stressful experience, but it is important to remember that your parent’s well-being should always come first.
If you are in an emergency situation and are struggling to pay for long-term care, we can help. Check out our long-term care and Medicaid planning guide, Aging with Confidence. And if you have any questions, give us a call at 614-408-0004.