Watching a parent get older and more vulnerable can be tough. The first signs of potentially needing help are difficult to witness; forgetfulness, when things start to slip in the housekeeping or yard work, or even worse – a fall. Often mom or dad are reluctant to leave their life-long homes and move into a long-term care facility. However, with a little preparation and perseverance, you can help your parents transition to a safer residence with less responsibility and more socially engaging activities.
Getting on the same page
The first step is getting everyone on the same page. Talk to any siblings about subtly bringing up the topic when they chat with your parents. If you do witness forgetfulness, ask them if they’ve forgotten anything important lately such as a doctor’s visit or taking any medications. When you see things are slipping around the house casually mention how it would make you feel better if your mom and dad had less work to do and more time to enjoy social activities. If there is a fall or age-related accident, once they are on the mend discuss how a facility would have rehabilitation, nurses, and mobility devices to aid in the recovery.
Emphasizing the facility
Once everyone is on the same page, begin the process of researching facilities. Decide whether your parents would like to stay close to where they’ve always lived, or if they’ll be moving closer to you or another sibling. Take tours of several places and point out the sort of things your parents would enjoy. Most places will let you eat a meal or enjoy an activity with other residents. You can also bring a tape measure and discuss how certain pieces of furniture would fit and make the place feel like home in no time.
Highlighting safety and ease
If you have a parent whose health is beginning to diminish or who’s had a fall, then safety will be a big highlight on your tour. Point out grab bars, lack of stairs, and well-lit hallways. If your parents have a large house or yard, then talking about someone else taking care of the grounds and taking care of maintenance could be a big plus.
Offering to help with the transition
One of the most overwhelming tasks imaginable is sorting through decades worth of tools or decorations or collections. Help with prioritizing what can get tossed, what can get donated, and what can get moved. Don’t try to go through everything in a day and try to respect the sentimental attachments to things you may deem as junk. Help your parents find a reputable moving company and offer to direct where furniture and items should go in the new place. Before leaving, give a brief tour of where everything is stored now in the new residence.
“Once everyone is settled most likely friendships will form, care will be provided, and quality of life will improve.”
After the move is completed, make sure to check in often with your parents and see how everything is going. Encourage them to get out and meet new people and engage in new activities. Stop by for a meal or take them out to eat. Make sure friends, neighbors, and other family members have all the contact information and encourage them to visit as well. Once everyone is settled most likely friendships will form, care will be provided, and quality of life will improve.
One thing that would make transitioning to a facility easier would be knowing it was paid for. Talk to your loved ones today about long-term care insurance and then speak to a specialist to get a quote and learn more.