The time to talk about assisted living
By KAREN HALLENBECK
Special to Feeling Fit
One of the most heart-wrenching conversations adult children can have with their parents is moving them into an assisted living community. This decision usually creates emotional stresses on all family members; usually, it is the best option for your loved one.
Approaching the subject is a delicate procedure. In most cases, there was a definite reason to have this conversation that could be referred to as an "event." The event could be a fall in the home, forgetting to take medications, not keeping up with housekeeping, unsafe living conditions or, in extreme cases, wandering.
It is never a good situation when family members or caregivers hear concerns that a neighbor is also worried about Mom's or Dad's wellbeing. Are they eating? Are they isolating themselves? Are they seeing their physician? Are they safe?
Some of the reasons assisted living can be the best choice:
•Socialization: Many seniors that argue that they don't want to leave their home -- and say they will "absolutely" hate assisted living -- usually do much better than living alone, when they are at risk for isolation and depression. Once they adjust to consistent patterns in assisted living -- attending scheduled events, having others around to eat with, and family visits -- they thrive.
•Safety: Knowing someone is around 24/7 is a big relief for most family members and their loved ones. Having caregivers checking on Mom or Dad can help lessen some of the fear from break-ins, falls or a household incident like a fire. Assisted living provides "emergency cords" that residents can pull if they need immediate help.
•Meals: Dietician-approved meals are prepared, alleviating concerns that Mom or Dad is not eating balanced and nutritional meals daily.
•Transportation: Due to poor eyesight, hearing and reflexes, most seniors are unable to drive. This causes stress for elderly people and their family members. Assisted living facilities often provide transportation to medical appointments, shopping and social events -- helping Mom or Dad live as independently as possible.
A combination of emotional issues, family involvement in their elderly parents care and financial issues can disrupt the true picture: Their loved ones need assistance. However, once the decision is made, many seniors and their family members are relieved and happy with the new arrangements.