As parents age, emotions can run high among adult children and other family members. Everyone wants what’s best for their loved ones, but some people believe that means respecting a previously stated desire to age in place even if it could jeopardize the person’s health. Others feel that it’s best to explore all options. Even getting a productive conversation started can feel like an impossible task in these situations.
How to Approach the Topic
Family caregivers tend to be the ones to bring up potential changes in parents’ living arrangements, and they’re the ones who are most likely to be experiencing strong emotions. Before starting a conversation with any other family members, take the time to decompress, even if that means making arrangements for a loved one to receive respite care.
Much of how a conversation progresses will be determined in its first few minutes. Burnt-out family caregivers are more likely to begin by expressing frustration, or even anger, which can set a poor tone for the entire conversation. Instead, stay calm and make it clear that the only priority of the conversation should be figuring out what kind of care for seniors the affected parent needs.
Hashing Out Levels of Care and Involvement
It’s usually the case that the family members closest to the senior needing care believe that the level of care required is greater than those who live in other cities or states. There’s a reason that the closest family members are usually the ones pushing for a move to elderly assisted living, and it generally has little to do with disparities in time commitments and involvement between siblings.
Family members who only come to visit once in a while will see an aging loved one put their best foot forward. Caregivers who spend more time with the senior may be better able to observe the true state of the person’s home life. If a parent requires help with the activities of daily living (ADLs), for example, it’s usually in-home or nearby family caregivers that provide that assistance, not the people coming in from out of town for a weekend visit.
Resist the temptation to assign blame. It’s no one’s fault if an aging loved one has begun to experience physical or cognitive decline, and right now, it’s not important whether everyone in the family takes on an equal amount of the burden of care. It’s only important that the person in question remains safe, healthy, and happy throughout their golden years.
Understanding the Senior’s Wishes
When an aging loved one has already decided how to approach the increasing care requirements that tend to develop with aging, the conversation about when to make the transition to a senior living community is easy. It’s when aging loved ones either haven’t given any thought to where they want to spend their golden years or are in denial about the need for the extra care that things become a problem.
As with understanding what level of care a senior really needs to remain safe at home, the burden of learning and communicating their wishes also tends to fall on the closest family members. It’s important to remember that the process of aging can bring strong emotions. Some seniors let pride get in the way, while others are embarrassed to ask for help or fearful of what the future might bring if they consent to a move.
Understanding these emotions and how they impact the person’s wishes regarding their continuing care is very important for everyone in the family. In many cases, simply listening and offering support is enough to change seniors’ minds and make it easier to get other family members on board.
In others, it can help to suggest a move to a continuing care community that offers senior independent living to eligible residents instead of a move to assisted living. Either way, it’s important for everyone involved in making the decision to understand where emotions and sudden changes of heart are coming from.
The Perfect Senior Living Solution
Helping aging loved ones decide what’s best can be tough, especially when everyone in the family seems to be on a different page. Instead of arguing about whether a senior truly needs to move to an assisted living community in Odessa, TX, consider a community that offers a continuum of care, such as Orchard Park of Permian Basin. Because we offer everything from independent living to advanced memory care, it’s easy for every new resident to find a place to feel at home. Call (432) 847-4700 to schedule a tour.