It’s the conversation many avoid altogether. How do you even begin to tell your loved one that they need to move out of their home and into a memory care home, especially if they have dementia and can’t totally comprehend it?
Have you noticed your loved one struggling to live on their own? You aren’t sure if their bills are being paid on time or possibly, even paid at all. You are worried that their diet consists of crackers and cheese because their cupboards are empty. You aren’t sure how much socialization they are getting, or how often they are able to go outside and enjoy the sunshine due to walking issues.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Any one of these is a clear sign that your loved one needs assistance. Moving your parent into an assisted living or memory care community is the solution when they can no longer live alone. It’s not always easy, but it may be necessary for their health and safety.
If your parent is resistant to change, how do you persuade them that a move is in their best interest?
Know your options first. Start by finding a general location that is close enough for your family’s liking. Talk to representatives, ask for recommendations online, read reviews, and then tour. Understand the care services available, the associated costs, and the personality of each location by asking a lot of questions. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be making the important decision of who will care for your loved one.
Then, understand the level of care your loved one will need. Beyond your loved one’s physical needs, some factors can dramatically affect their quality of life. You want your loved one to be safe and healthy, but also happy and thriving. When you are looking at the big picture of moving to a senior living community, understanding your priorities will help determine your best choice.
A few of the biggest things to look at is their…
- Personal Care (Do they need help or cues to use the restroom, perform oral care, shower, shave, or get dressed?)
- Health Care (Do they remember to take their medication every day? Do they have trouble remembering when or what to take?)
- Loneliness (Do they struggle with isolation due to health concerns, or because they can no longer drive? Or lost someone close to them?)
- Nutrition (Are they consuming a balanced diet? Are they still able to cook nutritious meals or do they go for snacks or microwave meals?)
- Accessibility (Do they sleep on the couch now due to not being able to get up the stairs? Is their hallways too small to be accessible in a wheelchair?)
Next, know your talking points.
- It’s not an “old folks’ home.”
- New friends.
- Distinctive amenities.
- Activities schedule.
- 24/7 care team.
- Peace of mind.
How receptive is your loved one when speaking about their living situation, limitations, and lifestyle? When you sit down to start the conversation, remember moving may be overwhelming and uncomfortable for your parent. When it’s time to have the conversation, here are some tips to make it easier.
1. Be Understanding
Your loved one may be worried about losing their independence or nervous about starting over in a new place or simply in denial. Be patient and listen to their concerns as you work through this transition together.
2. Be Clear
Your loved one might feel like a burden or believe that it’s more practical to stay in their home. However, staying in your childhood home may cause your family more time, money, and stress to accommodate their changing needs. Be kind, but clear about their current living situation and your concerns for their wellbeing.
3. Decide as a Family
Be prepared that moving your loved one can be charged with feelings of guilt and denial, making the process difficult. If your loved one has a living spouse, the decision can be particularly sensitive and more complicated. Be gentle with each other through this process, focusing on what is best for your loved one.
4. Involved in the Process
View communities online together and request brochures for review. Find out what is most important in a community (food, activities, amenities, staff), so they are happy and comfortable. Making your loved one a part of the process will help your family find the best fit.
5. Take a Tour
The best way for your loved one to understand how a community feels and the advantages that it will offer is to schedule a tour. They can meet the team and other residents, taste the cuisine, tour an apartment, stay for an activity, and get a sense of what it would be like to live there.
6. Have an Ongoing Conversation
Start the discussion about long-term care much earlier than you may think. If your loved one is resistant, a single conversation may feel like a confrontation. Take your time and break up the conversation if it feels tense.
At Azura Living, our team has built relationships with thousands of families. Although each situation is unique, our years of experience and expertise helps us to guide families through this transition successfully. If you are interested in scheduling a tour at one of our communities, please visit www.azuraliving.com.