We love our parents and it can be difficult to accept they are aging. Keeping up with aging parents may present difficult choices for adult children with competing work and family priorities. We witnessed parents as our primary caregivers, but a sudden role reversal could be difficult for adult children to handle.
Dealing with aging parents could be tougher for adult children living out of state or away from where their parents live. Knowing your loved one is at times forgetful is worrisome for many primary caregivers with hectic lifestyles. What are signs your parents should consider assisted living?
Finding assisted living for a parent should not be accompanied with a huge sense of emotional or financial burden. Read on to know more on assisted living for parents.
What is Assisted Living?
Assisted living, meant for seniors who are 55 years or older, assist with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as eating, bathing, toileting, grooming, and transferring. Assisted living is a residential style community created for the safety and security of aging people. Seniors who require assistance and support for their personal care, food preparation, housekeeping, laundry, medication management and other daily activities are taken care of by professionals. Assisted Living is sometimes perceived as a Skilled Nursing Facility - which is not the case.
Assisted living communities provide all the care in a professional yet comfortable environment 24x7. These may also include basic medical facilities or as per the specific category of the service provider. Residents are assisted in an environment that feels welcoming, engaging, safe and comforting without them feeling isolated.
Residents are encouraged to bring personal belongings (furniture, wall pictures, mementos) to add to the ‘at home’ atmosphere. Assisted living makes dealing with aging parents easier for those looking for specialized care.
Assisted Living Services Include:
- Private apartments or suites or in-home care
- 24x7 Caregivers
- Social recreational facilities
- Housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, grooming assistance, and more.
- Local shops, entertainment facilities
- Comfortable interiors with all facilities
- Regular outings
- Restaurant-style dining facilities
- Wellness programs
- Emergency facilities
- Beauty salons, and more
Different Levels of Care:
Assisted living offers personalized service in a less clinical environment while caring for aging parents in a highly professional manner.
They May Roughly Outline Their Levels of Care as Follows:
- Low level: This applies to individuals who are able to perform basic daily tasks. They may need a low level of supervision.
- Moderate level: The aging parent may need support for activities such as bathing, having meals, etc.
- High level: The person may need specialized memory care from medical professionals and daily assistance.
The costs incurred for assisted living are dependent upon your requirements. The cost also differs for residential and home care services. Nursing homes on the other hand offer highly-specialized medical care for seniors who have demanding medical conditions and need constant medical supervision. They often include medical professionals who deal with serious medical conditions.
This type of care is primarily meant for short term, usually few weeks, to cure immediate medical issues compared to assisted living services which can be tailored for a longer duration of stay. Nursing homes are suitable for dealing with aging parents who require this type of specialized supervision and medical support.
Services at Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing Facility cannot be compared one to one as they address different requirements of an aging parent. Assisted living communities assess residents before moving into their community. This ensures the individual gets a personalized plan tailored specifically for their needs. Service providers such as Senex Memory Advisors save time by offering unbiased assisted living service details. A certified senior advisor and certified dementia trained professional narrows down choices saving families time and trouble.
Before you make a decision, read on to know about caring for aging parents and make appropriate choices for them.
How To Deal With Aging Parents?
You know your parents need care and support. But, you also have your own professional commitments or personal endeavors that may create a busy life for you. For example, when your loved one displays symptoms of Dementia such as memory loss, you know you have a larger issue at hand. Not only do your aging parents need professional support, they also need assistance in simple tasks such as taking a walk around the neighborhood.
If you’re experiencing this, and are wondering, “How to deal with aging parents?” or “How to get parents into assisted living,” keep reading further.
How To Know When Your Parents Need Assisted Living?
Caring for aging parents is easier when you are aware what challenges they may be experiencing with their daily routine. If your parents are experiencing two or more behaviors from the list below, it could be a sign your parents need assisted living.
- Need support in their daily activities such as eating, dressing, toileting, bathing.
- May display moderately good physical health but you know they need support but you are unavailable to handle it.
- Need constant medication reminders.
- No longer able to manage or maintain their home.
- Unable to take care of personal hygiene.
- Frequently experience mood swings.
- Don’t show interest in social engagements and activities.
- Lose or gain weight in a short time.
- Forgetful of a recent conversation or event.
- Trouble following directions. You don’t feel confident them driving alone.
You Know Your Parents Need Help When You Constantly Have The Following Thoughts:
- Are they fine?
- How are they managing?
What to do when your parents need assisted living? How to get parents into assisted living? Let’s find out how you can provide a supportive environment for aging parents.
What To Do When Your Parents Need Assisted Living?
Yes, these are difficult moments. With planning and professional support you can make an intelligent and informed decision. Here’s what you need to do.
1. Open the Communication Channels
Your aging parents may consider themselves to be independent so you may face resistance to the suggestion of an assisted 3iving community. You need to understand their needs and convey the situation in the best way possible.
- Communication is of utmost importance to help aging parents understand
- Assisted Living is not isolation
- Assisted Living is a combination of being independent as well as having skilled medical workforces
- They have complete independence with support
- Assisted living offers a wonderful peace of mind
- You can always meet each other anytime at the assisted living facility. (In-person visitation rules may apply and may change overtime as per Texas Health and Human Services directive, during the covid-19 pandemic.)
When aging parents realize that assisted living is not like being in a nursing home, and their freedom would not be impaired, it brings a massive change in perspective. Personal conversations help in assuring parents assisted living is the right step towards maintaining their health and social activities. Assisted living is a wonderful choice you can make for aging parents who are not capable of living on their own and managing a healthy lifestyle without constant support. Early planning is necessary to begin finding assisted living for parents.
2. Determine your Budget
Arriving at a reasonable monthly budget is often one of key criteria in the decision making process. The cost of assisted living varies for each community. Some assisted living communities have an all-inclusive rate while others may have a base rate plus level of care charge.
Assisted living expenditures often fall under bracket of “private pay”. Some long-term care insurance plans may include support for this category. However, an individual can opt for an assisted living waiver as long as the beneficiary meets the clinical eligibility for the said waiver.
One cannot solely depend on Social Security benefits to pay for assisted living. While it is an important source of income for senior members, the commercials of assisted living may go higher than the amount received through Social Security. Besides, the cost of assisted living varies as per each region in the United States. Social security benefits are based entirely on one’s lifetime earnings as well as the area of employment.
Veteran’s Administration (VA) also offers support for assisted living provided the eligibility criteria are met. Enrollment at the VA assisted living centers is as per availability and eligibility.
Depending upon your health insurance plan, Medicare may offer certain services not covered by assisted living. In recent times, some states have increased their support for assisted living through medicaid programs. But, it may not cover the entire cost of the program. For example, a particular plan may cover only the personal care services that are availed through assisted living. The variation in plan benefits needs a deeper understanding so know if your parents are eligible to apply for certain Medicare or Medicaid benefits. Therefore, It’s vital to connect with qualified professional advisors.
3. Understand your Parent’s Needs and Issues
Determining your parents needs allows for a better understanding of how moving in to assisted living community supports them in having a higher quality of life:
- How active they are. Do they like to be around people?
- What is their current health situation? Are they experiencing chronic medical issues or undergoing long term treatment?
- Do they need specialized services for memory care (showing signs of dementia)
- What type of accommodation do they prefer private or shared?
Based upon answers to above questions and in conjunction you can arrive at a decision depending upon the requirements and budget.
4. Know your Own Limitations
When parents need assisted living, it’s often adult children that may also be in denial. However, you, as a primary caregiver for your aging parents, need to be aware of your own limitations in terms of time and physical presence you can offer. Those adults who commute frequently will be unavailable for their aging parents’ needs. Most importantly, aging parents also need fun and recreation - both of which are difficult to handle daily.
It’s important for you to:
- Review your finances
- Know how much time and presence you can offer
- Understand the limitations and take adequate steps
- Find out if your parents are ready to make the move
There comes a time when Assisted living is a safer and better choice compared to keeping your aging parents at home and alone.
5. Research Well
Make a checklist of all your requirements based on the points mentioned above. Use these checklists to understand the offerings. A checklist helps you drill down to your requirements to pick the right facility. If your parents need specialized memory care, then ensure your service provider has the right set of professionals. Assisted living communities that offer dementia care trained staff on the premises also have their residential areas catering to the needs of such residents. For example, facilities include doors with alarms or outdoor spaces that are enclosed with walking pathways.
6. Evaluate the Options
Now that you are aware of your finances, and requirements of your aging parents, you also need to make the decision about the type of stay. Assisted Living communities come in various formats. A community can have anywhere between 5 to 100 residents depending upon facility size and layout.
Some Assisted Living are located in a neighborhood setting and are known as Residential Care Homes. This setting offers personal care in specific residential communities and can include different types of amenities. These are regular homes modified to offer higher levels of safety or support in a smaller environment. There are also service providers who offer in-home memory care for aging parents who display greater resistance to moving into a small or a large assisted living community.
7. Take a Personal Tour
Now that your basic research is completed, it’s time to pay a visit to shortlisted communities. Schedule a trip to the community to understand their environment. If possible, plan the visit along with your parents. It’s recommended to understand the community culture, know the meal preparations being offered, and take a tour of the premises.
- Meal options
- Terms and conditions
- Staff experience and qualification
- Facilities offered
- Wellness activities
- Social outings
- Emergency numbers
- Number of residents
When Visiting Communities, Here Are Few Items To Look For:
- Physical layout and cleanliness in common areas
- Number of daytime and night staff and their qualifications
- Meal plans and types
- Regular activities schedule
- New resident assessment process
Discuss with family members about available options. Narrow down your choice once you have a general feel of the place, and know what to expect once your parents start living there. You can check on assisted living’s violations and citations with your state licensing records website. Most family members can also visit their loved ones anytime but it is best to check with the service provider. (In-person visitation rules may apply and may change overtime per Texas Health and Human Services directive, during the covid-19 pandemic.)
8. Prepare for a Safe Transition
Now that you’ve finalized the community, it’s time to make a smooth transition. Once you’ve gone through the terms and conditions and proceeded with the payment, you can help set-up rooms, get involved in activities, and help your parents settle in. It’s recommended to meet the care and administrative staff to build a bond with the caregivers who play an important role in the well being of residents.
Display patience towards your aging parents as they settle in a new environment. If possible, show a genuine interest in the activities and you can even participate in one of the activities to make parents feel at home. It’s important to stay connected with staff and parents during this phase. Once the parents settle in, they will soon start to enjoy all the benefits being offered by assisted living and like their new home.
Senex Memory Advisors Outline Important Points for Moving a Person with Dementia into an Assisted Living Community.
- Begin the conversation (In case of an early stage of dementia)
- Always choose a provider specialized in memory care
- Display empathy, care
- Fill the room with their favorite personal belongings
- Give them space
- Visit frequently
At times, it may take one to three months for your parents to adjust to this new environment and lifestyle. Your patience and support is vital in making this move successful.
Senex Memory Advisors offer no cost professional advice to families on choosing the right Assisted Living and Memory Care communities. They not only assist in evaluating your parents needs, but they also provide possible solutions when parents need assisted living.
Their proprietary assessment tool is designed to reduce costs by finding the most appropriate solutions for assisted living or memory care communities for seniors. Senex Memory Advisors work with you to find the best-fit solution for aging parents.
Syed A. Rizvi is the founder and CEO of Asbico, a Houston based family-owned business focussed on providing seniors and families with advice on Senior Living & Elder Care choices.