How do you start the conversation with your elderly parents about getting some help or whether they should move out of their home and into a retirement community or a Long-Term Care Facility? It’s not an easy conversation to have — but going about it the right way can help them live more safely and get more out of life.
Start with these tips when you need to talk to an aging parent about senior living, senior care, and the way forward for your family.
Preparing for the Conversation
Do your homework before you initiate the conversation about senior care and prepare yourself by creating a list of concerns and benefits of making this life changing transition.
Create a list of your concerns for your aging parent. Are you worried, for example, that their home is no longer a safe environment for them? Are they having some health problems? Are they starting to have trouble with activities of daily living, such as dressing, grooming, bathing or managing their medications? You may want to discuss your concerns with other family members to get their perspective as well. Write down all your observations so that you can share them with your senior living professional/advisors who will use this information to guide you towards the right senior living solution that fits your wants and needs. There is a wide range of types of senior living communities/facilities
Educate yourself. As you learn more about retirement communities
and senior care options such as assisted living, you’ll have a better understanding of what will fit your aging parent best. Admitting just how much help your loved one needs isn’t easy, and you may find yourself downplaying just how serious their need for help really is. But be as objective as you can. You and your parents may have concerns about and health issues such as outbreaks of flu or COVID-19. Most community websites have information about their safety protocols, and you can always call and ask.
Exploring the options and learning more about successful aging can give you the confidence and credibility you need to begin this conversation. But exploring and learning doesn’t mean you’re making decisions about moving your elderly parents out of their home without the consent of your parent or aging family member. Instead, you’re preparing yourself to be as helpful as possible for the conversation and decisions ahead.
Tips for Having a Better and More Productive Conversation About Senior Care
Once you have educated yourself and feel that you can confidently explain the options, following these tips can help you have a more easy-going productive conversation:
Have the conversation as early as possible.
Rather than waiting for a health crisis to force the issue, tackling this difficult decision early can help all of you reach an educated decision easier so you can start planning with so much less pressure and uncertainty.
Talk in person, if possible.
If you can be together to have a face-to-face conversation that is great. But if not, set up a video call so you can at least see each other during the discussion. Try to arrange a time when you and your parent/parents are well rested and relaxed. Block out a time and a location where you can talk without interruption.
Listen, listen, listen.
Your loved one may have anxieties, concerns and objections about moving from their home and into a retirement community. Don’t minimize those feelings. It’s important to acknowledge them and continue to ask questions so you can better understand their reservations. This will make it clear that you will respect their wishes.
Empathy, not sympathy.
No older adult wants their adult child to feel sorry for them. But empathy is another matter. Your kind, calm voice and demeanor will show you care — and that you’re trying to understand the fears and frustrations they may feel. The idea of accepting in-home care or moving to assisted living is tough. You begin to help as soon as you really begin to listen.
Once you’re armed with knowledge, you may feel ready to make a decision. But your parents may need more time. Allow them the time they need to find the words to express how they’re feeling. Coming to an unpressured mutual agreement now will continue to pay dividends as you move forward together.
Plan to talk again.
And again. As much as you might want to wrap things up in one conversation, the reality is this will likely be a series of talks unless your aging family member is in imminent danger, it’s a process, not a once-and-done discussion.
Contact a Free Senior Living Advisor to help guide you.
A good senior living advisors knows the communities in the area of your search and has established relationships within the senior living. You will save valuable time and resources when working with reputable senior living referral company. They will help you select a community that can meet all of your wants needs and desires at a cost that is in line with your budget. They will schedule your community visits/tours that fit within your family schedule and will be by your side to advocate for you. Whether it's an in-person tour or by virtual, one of the best ways to alleviate most of the worries about making this transition is to show your loved ones what a community is actually like. Visit during mealtimes so you can taste the cuisine and see how the community residents interact and if you can see them as a neighbor. This will give you an idea of what type of lifestyle, amenities, culture and type of neighbors that you are likely to have.
Remember, it’s their decision.
Unless your elderly parents are mentally incapacitated, they get to decide whether to move out of their home and into a care facility of some kind. You have the responsibility of raising your concerns, out of love for them, but the ultimate decision belongs to them.
Starting The Conversation
As with many difficult topics, beginning the discussion is often the hardest part. These conversation starters may help.
How is it living at home alone? Do you still feel safe? (You may want to mention specific safety concerns such as managing medications, falling on stairs, struggles in the bathtub or kitchen. Crime may be another fear they haven’t shared with you.)
Do you have a plan for long-term care? For example, if you fell or got sick and couldn’t take care of yourself at home, where would you go? How would you pay for it?
Do you feel lonely sometimes? Would you like to spend more time with people your own age?
How do you feel about driving? Would you be interested in other options for transportation, so you don’t have to worry about getting where you need to go, car maintenance costs, traffic, parking, etc.?
Is it ever hard to manage your finances and keep up with paying your bills?
Ever wonder about getting a helping hand with housekeeping and laundry?
Would you feel less stress if you didn’t have to worry about the house?
Open-ended questions are the best way to encourage them to talk. Sit back and really listen to their answers.
Lastly Avoid Information Overload
Finally, beware the flood. Sharing a little basic information upfront can be helpful but overloading the conversation with research and statistics is overwhelming. What’s worse, when people feel overwhelmed, they can get defensive. And defensiveness will end a conversation fast — and make it hard to resume later. Take your time and make this a journey of discovery and growth.
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If you are like millions of people caring for an older adult at home, it is likely that you put your loved ones needs over your own. The demands of caring for an older adult are more than just physical, they are also emotional. Over time, the stress of caregiving can lead to resentment, burnout and other health problems. Prioritizing self-care as the primary caregiver of senior is one of the most important things you can do for both you and your loved one.Signs of Caregiver StressAs a caregiver it is only natural to put your loved ones needs before your own, but you cant give what you dont have. If you are running on empty, you wont be able to provide the care your loved one needs, and you could be putting your own health at risk.Caregiver stress is all too common, according to the Mayo Clinic caregivers are more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety or depression and it is natural to feel angry, exhausted, frustrated, sad or alone. You may be so focused on caring for your loved one that you may not even realize your own health and wellbeing is suffering.Studies show that long term stress can have a negative effect on your overall health including putting you at risk of medical problems. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, caregivers are more likely to have a chronic illness than non-caregivers such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.Learning to recognize the signs is the first step on the road to taking charge of your health and wellness.Signs of caregiver stress: Feeling overwhelmed Often feeling tired Weight gain/loss Frequent headaches Irritation or anger Losing interest in activities you typically enjoy Alcohol or drug abuse (including prescription medication)Prioritizing Self CarePrioritizing self-care is not selfish, its responsible. How can you take care of someone else if you dont take care of your own health? Decompressing and taking time for yourself is an important part in keeping yourself healthy for the long term. How do you start prioritizing your own needs?First and foremost, learn to ask for help. As much as we want to be superheroes for our loved ones, sometimes even heroes need a hand. Dont be afraid to ask other family members, friends and even neighbors for help with daily tasks like picking up dry cleaning or going on a grocery run. It is important to be realistic about what you can or cannot do.Create boundaries. Having boundaries is important to maintaining healthy relationships and preventing burnout. Even as the primary caregiver of an older adult, creating boundaries can minimize any resentment that can come with the caregiver role.There are resources out there to give you a hand such as transportation or meal delivery, look into what might be available in your community. And remember, you are not alone. There are support groups out there that can provide encouragement, provide advice for challenging situations and validation. There is power in community.Whole Person WellnessWe all know that exercise, eating healthy, staying hydrated and getting plenty of sleep are the foundations of living a healthier life but whole person wellness is more than that. While it is essential to take care of your body, dont forget the needs of your mind and soul. Taking the time to be social and getting out for the night can do wonders for your psyche. You are your own person, and you need a life outside of daily work and caregiving responsibilities.Other activities you can do to decompress: Meditate Yoga Listen to relaxing music Get a massage Go to church Read Take a hot bathRemember, dont be so hard on yourself and give yourself some grace. Be as kind as supportive to yourself as you would be for your best friend if they were in your position. They say it takes a village to raise a child, well it can take a village to provide proper long-term care for an aging loved one as well.When is it time for an assisted living community?Many adult children have feelings of guilt associated with moving their parent into an assisted living community. But there may come a time where continuing to care for your loved one at home is no longer feasible or safe. Your parent may no longer be able to safely stay at home while you are at work. Maybe they need more assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing, than you can provide. Assisted living communities like Cappella of Pueblo West can be a great option.With a full calendar of social, intellectual, inspirational, and physical programs, residents of Cappella of Pueblo West have many opportunities engage with others who share their interests and tastes. Our award-winning community is dedicated to improving the quality of life for older adults and our Rhythms Life Enrichment Philosophy of Being Well Known guides community life.Contact us today to learn more about our community, we are happy to answer any questions you may have or to schedule a tour.
5 Minute ReadDo you or someone you love need long-term care? If so, understanding the basics of Long-term Care Medicaid can be an invaluable resource. Long-term Care Medicaid helps Seniors and Disabled Adults pay for the high costs of ongoing medical and personal care services. In this blog post, Stacy Osborne, CEO of Beneficent, will discuss what Long-term Care Medicaid is and how it can help those in need of ongoing medical and personal support. What is Long-term Care Medicaid? Since April 1999, Beneficent has been privileged to successfully assist more than 3000 families and individuals through the long-term care Medicaid and VA applications while preserving assets.Long-term Care Medicaid is a financial assistance program that helps pay for medically necessary long-term care services. This includes nursing home care, home health services, assisted living facility services, adult day health services, hospice care, respite care, and more. It is available to people who are aged 65 or older; blind; disabled (as defined by the Social Security Administration); or medically needy (those who have high medical expenses which exceed their income). Eligibility for Long-term Care Medicaid in ColoradoIn order to qualify for coverage through a states Long-term Care Medicaid program, individuals must meet certain criteria regarding their residence status and citizenship/immigration status as well as a financial assessment. The financial assessment looks at things like income level and assets owned by the applicant. Since April 1999, Beneficent has been privileged to successfully assist more than 3000 families and individuals through the long-term care Medicaid and VA applications while preserving assets.Benefits of Applying for Long-term Care Medicaid Though it can take some time to navigate through all of the paperwork involved in applying for coverage under one of these programsit could end up saving money in the long run while providing much needed relief when it comes to accessing necessary healthcare services. Applying for Long-term Care Medicaid can provide numerous benefits to those needing long-term care assistance. Not only can it help cover the cost of needed medical aid such as nursing home stays or home health aides; it could also cover the cost of personal aids such as assistive devices like wheelchairs or walkers; transportation assistance; meal delivery programs; homemaking and chore services; adult daycare centers; medication management programs; personal emergency response systems; occupational therapy; physical therapy among other things that many seniors need assistance with on a daily basis. Overall, applying for Long-term Care Medicaid can be an invaluable resource if you or someone you love needs ongoing medical or personal support due to age, disability or any other qualifying factor that might make them eligible for coverage under a states specific program guidelines. Though it can take some time to navigate through all of the paperwork involved in applying for coverage under one of these programsit could end up saving money in the long run while providing much needed relief when it comes to accessing necessary healthcare services. Ultimately this could lead to better quality of life down the roadmaking it worth every step taken along the way!Skip the headache of trying to apply for Long-term Care Medicaid on your own and call 719.645.8350 Beneficent to schedule a FREE initial consultation. We work with residents across the state of Colorado. Stacy OsborneBeneficent CEO719.645.8350
Personal grooming for seniors is challenging for adults with dementia, and for their caregivers. Since many seniors in cognitive decline also experience bouts of incontinence, it is even more important for their caretakers to ensure that they are bathed and cleaned daily. In addition, people with dementia may forget to bathe on their own without reminders or may sometimes lash out at caregivers for reminding them to get clean, making bath time a fight. Or, if they do remember how to bathe themselves, they may not recall why its so important. Seniors living in an assisted living or memory care facility may balk at shower help because of privacy or modesty concerns.Reduce the struggle with your loved one by incorporating some of these caregiver tips into your daily shower or bath routine.Make Showers Part of Their Daily RoutineEstablishing a predictable routine is an important part of treating dementia and helping people with dementia enjoy a better quality of life. Bathing or showering may already be part of this routine, but if you or your loved ones caregivers are having difficulty getting your loved one to participate in bathing, it may be time to change how this activity is presented to them.Reprimanding an older adult for not bathing, scolding them, or shaming them isnt going to get the desired results. Its demeaning, and can often make them more resistant to showering, especially if they dont like their caregiver sometimes, people with dementia may provoke a disliked caregiver on purpose, and refusing to shower is one way they do so.Instead, take a positive approach with the unwilling bather. Schedule one of their favorite activities right after shower time, and offer rewards for getting in without a fight and thoroughly cleaning themselves.Prepare All Bathing Supplies in AdvanceIf your senior has a favorite towel, have that ready to go, hanging on the shower rod or by the tub. Learn what kind of body-cleaning tool, like a loofah, poof, washcloth, or sponge, and have that ready for them, too. Smell is a powerful memory tool, so its important that the scent of whatever bath products and shampoo you use are soothing or brings back pleasant memories. Lavender is a soothing scent, for example.Seniors are more sensitive to water temperature and pressure than people of other ages, so ensure that the temperature and pressure of the water are comfortable. You may need to adjust the settings on your water heater or consider purchasing a showerhead with adjustable pressure and water flow. If the bathroom is colder than your senior would like, consider placing a small bathroom-safe space heater in the room, too. Warm towels straight from the dryer can be a warm, comforting option, as well. Place a couple of extra towels in the dryer before starting the shower so they are ready when you need them.Include your senior in buying shower and bath supplies. The two of you can look online for new, fluffy towels in their favorite color or go to the store to pick up shampoo and body wash. If your senior is able, you can make an adventure out of it, such as going to a smaller soap store and smelling different products or touching the different loofahs until they find something they like. If your loved one is involved in selecting their bathing supplies, they may be more amenable to showering.Work With Your Senior to Preserve as Much Independence and Modesty as PossibleEncourage your loved one to wash as much of themselves as possible and give them as much privacy as possible while doing so without compromising their safety. Shower accessories, like a grip on the floor or a shower chair, can help them bathe with less help from you.If your senior has significant cognitive decline or is mostly unable to bathe themselves, you can still involve them in their shower. Give them a washcloth to hold while you clean them it may make them feel as though they are doing something, reducing the chances that they will strike out while being washed.If you or a caregiver must do most of the cleaning for your senior, consider washing them in sections and covering the rest of their body with a towel while you wash each section. This can preserve their modesty and help keep them warmer.Install an Adjustable ShowerheadA showerhead with adjustable pressure and a detachable nozzle helps caregivers and seniors better bathe themselves. The nozzle provides greater targeted control over where the water goes, and the showerhead and nozzle can be adjusted to produce a bigger or smaller stream. Some showerheads have adjustable pressure, too, which can help lower the pressure to reduce the loud sounds that may upset some people with dementia. An adjustable showerhead also makes bathing in a shower chair easier.Installing an adjustable showerhead may be a better option than adjusting the building water heater for seniors who share a home with others, whether its their family or in an assisted living home. Sometimes, Supplemental Medicare plans to cover certain showering aids for those who otherwise could not bathe independently without them, so look at your loved ones coverage to see if they have a plan like this.Narrate Each Step of the ShowerNarrating each step of the shower adds to the predictability of the process for people with dementia or others who thrive on routine. Talk through the bathing process with your senior, stating what you will do and what they will do. This may spark a memory for some people in cognitive decline. They can participate more and give others more security in knowing what will come next.You may use the shower narration to encourage your senior to do each step themselves and only take over if they are unable or unwilling.ConclusionIf you are concerned about your loved ones ability to shower or bathe on their own, consult a senior living advisor in your area for help finding the right memory care or assisted living facility in helping them keep clean and take care of other personal care tasks and activities of daily living. Assisted Living Locators senior care advocates help families locate a good fit for a loved one who needs a little more help to care for themselves or those who cannot live independently.