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.
The Right senior Living Solution
Did you know there are financial assistance programs available to veterans who need assisted living care? Our veterans made numerous sacrifices to uphold the freedom we enjoy today while their families kept the home fires burning. They are entitled to many benefits in appreciation for all they endured for America.Veterans benefits for senior living are available for qualifying veterans and their surviving spouses, as long as the veteran served at least 90 days of active duty, including at least one day during a wartime period, and received an honorable or general discharge.Veterans Aid and Attendance for assisted living careOffered through the Department of Veterans Affairs, Aid and Attendance is a monthly pension benefit that can help cover the costs of assisted living care. It is available for wartime veterans and their spouses who have limited income and require the regular attendance of a caregiver.Aid and Attendance is designed for individuals who need assistance from another person to complete everyday activities such as bathing, dressing and assistance with other daily activities. A veterans need for this benefit does not need to be the result of their military service.Funds received from Aid and Attendance benefits can offer a monthly benefit to help pay for assisted living and long-term care for a qualifying veteran and their spouse. The actual monthly benefit is determined by the veterans assets, income and medical expenses and conditions.Contact your local county Veterans Services office with questions on how to apply by visiting www.benefits.va.gov/vso.MedicareMedicare will pay for short-term care at nursing and rehabilitation facilities for seniors who need these services after an illness or injury that requires hospitalization. Medicare does not cover the cost for assisted living, home care or other senior living services.Long-Term Care BenefitsThe Veterans Administration provides both short- and long-term care in skilled nursing settings for veterans who cannot care for themselves. This benefit does not cover assisted living or home care.Housebound BenefitsVeterans confined to their homes and requiring assisted living care may be best suited to receive Housebound benefits. This program provides an increased monthly pension amount for those confined to their home due to a permanent disability.Applying for BenefitsThe Veterans Administration has regional offices that provide Veteran Service Organization representatives who may be able to answer simple questions about assisted living benefits, as well as provide free, basic advice on the application process.Many veterans seeking advice on applying for assisted living benefits hire a qualified attorney accredited by the VA or an accredited claims agent, who has passed a written exam about VA laws and procedures.The application process for assisted living benefits is often very lengthy. It is important to be thorough when completing the application and have all required documentation gathered and ready to submit.There are additional financial options to pay for assisted living care for individuals who do not qualify for veterans benefit. Click to find out more about financial options for senior living.Country Meadows offers affordable assisted living or personal care on its nine campuses in Pennsylvania and one in Frederick, Maryland. Our friendly co-workers are always available to help! Contact us today for more information.
Understanding the Silence: 3 Reasons Family Caregivers Don't Seek HelpThe role of a family caregiver is one of the noblest yet most challenging tasks one can undertake. It involves providing unwavering support and care to loved ones who are either aging, living with disabilities, or dealing with chronic illnesses. Despite the significant physical, emotional, and mental toll it can take, many caregivers often find themselves reluctant to seek help, especially for their own self-care needs.This reluctance can lead to burnout, stress, and health issues for the caregivers themselves. Lets explore the top three reasons family caregivers often dont ask for help and discuss how acknowledging and addressing these concerns can lead to better outcomes for both caregivers and those they care for.1. Guilt and Perceived Self-ExpectationOne of the most profound reasons caregivers hesitate to seek help is the overwhelming sense of guilt and the self-imposed expectation to manage everything on their own. Many caregivers operate under the belief that seeking assistance is an admission of failure or that they are not doing enough for their loved one.This guilt is often compounded by societal expectations that glorify self-sacrifice, making caregivers feel that they must bear the burden alone to prove their love and commitment. Its crucial for caregivers to recognize that asking for help is not a sign of weakness but a necessary step in ensuring they remain healthy and well enough to continue providing care.2. Fear of Inadequate CareAnother significant barrier is the fear that no one else can provide the same level of care and understanding to their loved one. This concern often stems from the deep personal connection and familiarity caregivers have with the specific needs and preferences of the person they are looking after. The thought of entrusting this responsibility to someone else, even a professional, can be daunting.However, its important to understand that seeking help, whether through professional services or community support, can offer respite and may even introduce new approaches to care that can be beneficial.3. Lack of Resources and AwarenessMany family caregivers simply do not know where to look for help or believe that resources are not available or are too costly. This lack of awareness about the existence of support networks, respite care, and other caregiver resources contributes significantly to the isolation and stress that caregivers experience.Additionally, the complexity and time required to navigate health and social care systems can be deterrents in themselves. Increasing awareness and accessibility of support services is crucial in helping caregivers realize they are not alone and that there are avenues available to help manage the demands of caregiving.Moving ForwardRecognizing these barriers is the first step in addressing the silent struggle of many family caregivers. Its essential for caregivers to acknowledge their own needs and understand that seeking help is an act of strength, both for their well-being and for the enhanced care of their loved ones.Communities and health services can aid this process by promoting the availability of support resources, simplifying access to respite care, and fostering environments where caregivers feel valued and supported in their roles.For caregivers, remember: taking care of yourself is not a luxury; its an integral part of providing the best care for your loved one. By seeking support, youre not only ensuring your own health and happiness but also enhancing the quality of care you provide.Lets work towards a culture that supports and uplifts the invaluable work of caregivers, recognizing the importance of self-care in sustaining the caregiving journey.Addressing Caregiver Needs: Embracing Adult Day and In-Home Care ServicesAs we navigate the challenges and responsibilities of caregiving, it becomes clear that implementing practical solutions for respite is not just beneficial but necessary. Among the most effective strategies for providing caregivers with the relief they need are adult day services and in-home care options. These resources can offer caregivers the break they deserve while ensuring that their loved ones continue to receive high-quality care and social interaction.Adult Day ServicesAdult day services are designed to offer a safe, engaging environment for adults who need supervision and care during the day. These programs can be particularly beneficial for seniors with dementia or physical disabilities. They provide a range of activities aimed at promoting well-being, from physical exercises to social events and cognitive stimulation.For caregivers, this service presents an opportunity to take a break, attend to personal matters, or simply rest, knowing their loved one is in good hands. Embracing adult day services can significantly reduce the emotional and physical stress associated with continuous caregiving, offering a much-needed balance in their lives.In-Home CareFor families that prefer keeping their loved one at home or for whom adult day services may not be the best fit, in-home care is an invaluable alternative. Professional caregivers can come to your home to provide a range of services, from basic assistance with daily activities to medical care.This option allows your loved one to stay in a familiar environment while still receiving professional care. It also offers flexibility, as services can be tailored to your specific needs and schedule, providing relief for just a few hours a week or on a more full-time basis.Recommendations for Family Caregivers1. Assess Your Needs: Take the time to understand both your needs and the needs of your loved one. Whether its a few hours off to run errands or a more structured break to ensure your well-being, knowing what you need will help you choose the right type of support.2. Explore Your Options: Research local adult day services and in-home care providers. Look for reviews, ask for recommendations from your network, and consider visiting facilities to get a sense of how they operate and whether they feel like a good fit for your family.3. Seek Financial Assistance: Understandably, cost is a significant concern for many families. Explore financial assistance options such as Medicaid, long-term care insurance, or veterans benefits that may help cover the cost of these services.4. Start Small: If youre hesitant about introducing a new care arrangement, its okay to start small. Try a few hours of in-home care or a couple of days at an adult day center to see how it works for you and your loved one.5. Communicate: Open communication with your loved one about the changes and the reasons for them is crucial. Ensure they understand the benefits and feel involved in the decision-making process.By incorporating adult day services or in-home care into your caregiving routine, youre not only ensuring your loved one continues to receive compassionate and professional care, but youre also taking an important step in prioritizing your own health and well-being.Remember, taking advantage of respite care options is a testament to your strength and dedication as a caregiver, reflecting a commitment to providing the best care possible, both for your loved one and yourself. Caring for a loved one? We are here to help, whether you need help at home or need a little break during the day! Take a break and enjoy peace of mind knowing your loved one is having the time of their life! ActivAge Senior Care,formerly Chelsea Placeoffers Adult Day (the Club), Daytime Senior Care and In-Home Care. To learn more, please call (941) 205-7722 or visit ActivAgeCare.com. Port Charlotte: 3626 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte, FL 33952Sarasota: 3801 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, FL 34233Home Care: Serving Charlotte & Sarasota County
How to Prevent Family Conflict Over Aging ParentsWhen it comes to aging parents, certain topics are often at the forefront of the conversation senior living, health care, and financial planning, to name a few. However, there is one topic that is very common but not as openly discussed: family conflict. This type of conflict usually occurs among adult children as their parents or family members go through the aging process. Disputes can also occur between parents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins, or others. Disagreements often stem from the stress, sadness, denial, anger, or uncertainty people often feel when their loved ones start to need help.Family conflict over aging loved ones is especially prevalent in the state of Florida, which has such a large senior population. In fact, family conflict became such an issue that the Florida Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts launched the Elder Justice Initiative on Eldercaring Coordination. This dispute resolution process was specifically created for families experiencing conflict over the care, autonomy and safety of Florida seniors.Clearly, family conflict over aging loved ones is a real issue that impacts seniors. While it is not uncommon, it can be prevented with the proper preparation, communication, knowledge, and guidance.This article will cover several aging-related topics that can lead to family conflicts, and how to best solve or prevent these issues. After all, the best outcomes for seniors occur when there is harmony and teamwork among their adult children. Situations that Can Lead to Family ConflictProblem: Uneven balance of caregiving responsibilitiesAdult children of seniors often have to handle many matters related to their aging parents. These can include taking on the role of a family caregiver, accompanying parents to medical appointments, making healthcare decisions, managing finances, driving them to all their obligations, managing their nutritional needs, performing household maintenance and chores, and many other duties.When multiple adult children are involved, it is natural for one child to take on more of the caregiving load than the others. This is often the case when one child lives much closer to their parents than the others.But when these duties are not evenly distributed among the children, some start to develop feelings of anger or bitterness toward their siblings.Solution: When feelings of bitterness and resentment start to develop, have a civil discussion with your siblings about the issue. Rather than being accusatory, try to make a plan to solve the problem. Write out all the responsibilities required for taking care of your aging parents, and specifically delegate each duty to certain people. Make sure everyone is on board with the agreement and is assigned a role that is achievable for them. Keep the list somewhere everyone can access it, whether it be a printed copy for each family member, or even a shared Google Doc. Plan to have frequent check-in meetings to make sure everyone is doing their part and discuss any concerns that have arisen.For example, one child who lives nearby can be in charge of driving their parents to appointments, while another child who lives farther away can take on the role of managing their finances. Or, if one person is unable to physically help, perhaps they would be willing to contribute financially to help make the other childrens roles a little easier whether that be by paying for respite care, a geriatric care manager, hospice care, or another service. Problem: One sibling is being excluded from the decision-makingSometimes, one child will take over most of the decision-making for their senior parents, causing the other siblings to feel as though they are being left in the dark about these important issues. Solution: In these situations, communication is key. In a calm manner, tell your sibling how you are feeling. It could be that they are simply unaware of their actions. Or, they might have thought they were making their siblings lives easier by not involving them. Explain your point of view and that you want to be more involved in matters relating to your aging parents. From there, you can work together to make an arrangement that you are included in.Problem: Disagreements about the amount of care neededFor some people, it can be hard to come to terms with the fact that their parents needs and abilities are changing. This can lead to denial or avoidance of the situation which is not only harmful for the seniors, but can also cause disagreements between adult children.In other situations, some adult children may believe their parents are able to safely age in place in their own home, while others may think senior living would be the best choice.Solution: Sometimes a professional outside opinion is all it takes for people to come to an agreement about their parents care needs. Consult your parents doctors for a professional report about their health status and changes in ability. It is also wise to contact an expert senior advisor like Florida Senior Consulting to conduct necessary assessments and make professional recommendations for the senior. A senior advisor can also help inform about all the possible options, whether that be in-home care or senior living. Along with involving outside sources, siblings can work together to research the situation at hand. For example, if the seniors are experiencing memory issues like dementia, adult children can research this topic to learn what level of care is often recommended in these situations. This method is always a good place to start and helps everyone be on the same page about their loved ones needs.Problem: Disagreements about end-of-life care and estate planningEstate planning and end-of-life care can be uncomfortable or delicate topics to discuss. Because of their complexity, these matters can often lead to disagreements among adult children.Solution: In these tricky situations, it is often best to leave the decisions up to your parents. If possible, have them choose a power of attorney and set up advance directives like a living will and health care surrogate designation before a crisis occurs. This will prevent any future conflicts that could arise among family members if these designations are not in place.If a crisis occurs and your parents do not have these documents or their estate in order, it is best to contact an elder law attorney, a financial planner that specializes in elder affairs, and possibly a family mediator to help with inheritances. These professionals can help get the situation sorted out without the risk of a conflict developing between family members.Next Steps for Adult Children to Help their Aging ParentsDont let conflicts about your aging parents tear your family apart. In difficult times, it is important for families to come together so the seniors in your life can receive the best care possible. This positive outcome is only achieved when the adult children work together as a team. After all, as Helen Keller once said, Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.If you and your family need guidance on how to best help your aging loved ones, always contact a professional. Florida Senior Consulting will help you every step of the way, from deciding the right plan for care, finding the best assisted living community, packing, moving, and everything in between.Our expert senior advisors are local to Florida and will help you and find the best care possible.Call (800) 969-7176 or visit FloridaSeniorConsulting.com to get started today.Senior living on your terms. The choice should be yours.