Participants should aim for a frank, honest discussion without hurting anyone’s feelings. Some of the concerns on the part of the family may include safety issues, forgetfulness and disorientation, health problems, nutrition and keeping bills paid. Concerns on the part of the senior may include safety, loss of independence and changes in lifestyle.
One way to help decide what type of care is needed may be to have the senior’s physician do an evaluation of physical and mental abilities. Another alternative is to have an evaluation done by an elder care service company. They will be able to determine mental acuity, physical needs and what type of help would be most beneficial. They may also be able to recommend a facility if necessary or what types of services would be best used at the home should the senior decide to move in.
Assisted Living Facilities
Many people have concerns about assisted living facilities. Some do not care for the
idea of having large numbers of seniors in the same place, all requiring medical care. Others do not want to be in a facility among strangers and have a roommate. There are also sometimes concerns about clients being looked after appropriately. Everyone involved should evaluate the potential facilities and care available if this is one of the options considered. Upon arrival, the transition can be made easier by having someone make introductions to residents and staff and help the person unpack.
Leaving a home that someone has lived in for years can be a traumatic experience. Many seniors are not ready to go elsewhere because they will miss their friends and neighbors. Their home is full of memories and leaving it is the equivalent of leaving their life behind. This can be scary and full of uncertainty. Learning new surroundings and routines can be a difficult adjustment. It can also be a relief when the lawn does not have to be cut or the police called on rowdy neighbors having parties. For those physically and mentally able to stay in a community for seniors, this may be an opportunity to stay independent without the stressors of isolation from family, friends and daily activities. Spending time with others their age is an added bonus.
Moving in with adult children or younger siblings can be stressful and hectic for everyone. Where there are personality conflicts, this may be a serious consideration. It can also be comforting living nearby in case something happens. One of the most frequent reasons for hesitation on the part of the parents is losing their independence and freedom. Accepting help may be difficult. Having a separate room or suite of rooms may lessen these feelings. For adult children, taking on the responsibility of another household member who needs care may be too much, especially for those with small children. Engaging the services of home caregivers or senior companions may ease the responsibility and concerns associated with taking care of older parents. Weighing the pros and cons during a family discussion is the best way to decide on a plan that works for everyone.