Choosing assisted living for your parents can be one of the most difficult decisions that you will have to make in your life, and one of the toughest conversations to have with your parents. While we would love to imagine our parents being around us all the time, sometimes it is better for both parties for them to move into an assisted living facility.
How can you know when the right time is? After all, getting older is often a slow and gradual process, with those essential signs only revealing themselves after time. That is why we have created this article to help you make the right choice. To help you recognize when the right time to help your parents find a new mode of living arises, we have compiled a checklist of reasons to look out for. Read on below to see what we have picked.
What Can Assisted Living Provide?
Assisted living facilities are created, especially for senior citizens and the complexity of their needs, providing various services that personal care simply cannot offer as quickly and routinely. These can include things such as:
- 24/7 monitoring
- At least three meals a day
- Co-ordinated activities
- Simple socialization with other residents
- Easy-to-access toiletries
- Regular cleaning
- Helping to dress
- Helping to walk
While it is possible for you to personally provide a few of the things mentioned above, doing all of these things all of the time, especially as your parents become more infirm, can be an immensely difficult strain on your own mental and physical health. Assisted living can take away a lot of that burden, and you should not feel guilty for considering this option – there is only so much you can do.
Being away from them on a day-to-day basis does not mean staying out of touch forever! It is also worth pointing out that while you may be away from your parents more often, visitation time is always possible, meaning that you can choose to spend as much or as little time with your parents as you desire. Additionally, with the rise of video technology, you can always keep in touch face-to-face online.
If you think that it is time to move to assisted living, perhaps it is time to look around a few care facilities, which can be done in-person or via a virtual tour. A good example is Frontier Management, an award-winning company with various communities across the United States.
They are Unable to Take Care of Themselves
Fit and healthy parents with strong cognitive ability can live in their own homes and stick to their own tasks. According to a poll by the AARP, 90% of older people plan to age in place. This isn’t true for everyone, however. As some people get older, they can give off tell-tale signs that they would be better off in a senior home, or assisted living facility.
The key signs that they may need to move into an assisted living facility include reasons such as:
- Unpaid bills
- Broken furniture or crockery
- Low energy
- Dirty or unorganized homes and garden
- Missing appointments
- Not taking medication
- Mood swings
- Difficulty moving around
- Weight loss
- Lack of interests or hobbies
One or two of these signs may not be too much of a big deal — after all, aging comes with a variety of side effects — but if your parents are exhibiting a combination of different ones, then it would make sense for you to start considering a senior living facility that could work for them. After all, if there is an accident and nobody can care for them, this could prove disastrous; something that could easily be avoided when they are attended to by round-the-clock professionals.
Providing the Care Yourself is Too Much Work
We all live very busy lives. Whether it is work, childcare, or personal commitments, we are often spinning multiple plates simultaneously. Adding caring for your parents on top of this can create a difficult mix, often leading to caregiver burnout. While it is technically possible to be there for your parents around the clock on top of other tasks, this can easily lead to a variety of your own emotional and physical issues.
Do not just lookout for signs of decline in your parents, but be kind to yourself and look out for these crucial signs of burnout:
- Lack of sleep
- Withdrawal of interests
- Loss of appetite
This is usually because most people caring for their parents are not trained in the finer points of care, often leading to unrealistic expectations for their parent’s health which can easily lead to confusion and frustration. Our own personal feelings are caught up in the mix, adding a lot of mental and emotional strain.
This is contrasted with those working at an assigned living facility who have the necessary medical training and dispassionate approach to deal with stubborn grandparents and the complexity of their issues. While assisted living does come with a cost, it can free up a lot of your own time, meaning that you can reinvest that in your career as well as saving on travel costs to and from your parent’s home.
Are You Making the Right Choice?
Older people can be stubborn about moving into assisted living, especially if they believe that they are fit and healthy, unlike the other residents in the care home. Nonetheless, as their primary caregiver, you are in a position to know what is right for them. If they are exhibiting signs as we have said above, and it makes sense for you emotionally and physically to off-load the burden of care onto someone else, then moving them into an assisted living facility is the right choice.
We would recommend sitting down with your parents and letting them know about your decision. Be firm in your resolution as well as clearly outlining the positives of such a move. As they care for your mental well-being, both of you will likely see this choice as the right one.