Witnessing your mom or dad’s physical or mental health decline due to age is never easy. If you are their caregiver, you may no longer be able to handle the level of care they need and also maintain your own health, sanity, family and financial responsibilities. Professional home care may be a good solution for some, if they can afford it, and if their residence is adequate to accommodate aides and therapists going in and out. However, an assisted living or long-term care facility may truly be the best and safest solution for others.
Here are some tips on how to have the uncomfortable conversation in a way that your parent might best receive it:
Be objective and cite outside sources for information whenever possible: For example, according to an article on health.usnews.com there are four signs that someone might need to go into long term care: 1) They can’t get organized 2) They’re letting hygiene slip 3) They’re declining physically 4) You don’t have the bandwidth.
And, Dr Sidney Katz in the 1960’s developed a chart that measures how well the person can do activities of daily living or ADL’s for short. There are 6 basic ADL’s: bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, continence, and feeding. How many of these functions a person can perform independently can determine the level of care in a facility that’s required.
Let them know how this transition will benefit THEM. In a competent, professional and reputable assisted living or long-term care facility, there is access to medical professionals 24/7, activities, different therapies, camaraderie, and physically safe spaces for the level of care your parent would require. Of course, you would need to vet the facility yourself and be excited about your own research prior to trying to convince your mom or dad about all these benefits. We suggest talking to other children of the residents at any facility you’re considering as part of your search for the best facilities.
Find a place close to home and rally friends and family members One of the scariest things about moving out of your familiar setting into an eldercare facility is the thought that you’ll rarely if ever see your friends and family members. However, if the facility is relatively close to home and you actually reach out for help from as many friends and family members as possible, you might be surprised at the amount of love and support that comes through as your parent is making their housing transition and beyond. So, make sure that after you reassure your parent that they’ll still get to see friends and family regularly, that you actually reach out to them for help in this regard.
Deal with your own guilt and anxiety prior to having the conversation You may be convinced that a nursing home is indeed the best (and maybe ONLY) logical solution for your parent. However, if you’re like most people, you’ll have feelings of anxiety and guilt around the thought of admitting your mom or dad into a facility. You’re going to need your inner strength to have the best possible chance of the conversation going well. And, if the first conversation doesn’t go well, you’ll need resilience to insist on the right thing to do in subsequent conversations.
Delegate the conversation to their minister, social worker, best friend, doctor or therapist This is a judgment call. Sometimes, certain conversations are just too difficult from child to parent and this may be one of them. In some cases, another person may be more suited to deliver the information in a way your parent can best hear it. Then, there’s a chance your mom or dad would tell you what the other person said. You might be able to follow up agreeing with what your parent was told by one or more of these other people.
We wish you the best of success with this difficult and uncomfortable conversation and please know in your heart that you are trying to do what’s best for your parent, yourself, and for your own immediate family.
Call us today to discuss assisted living and rehabilitation care - we are here to help.
Bridgeway Care and Rehabilitation at Hillsborough
395 Amwell Rd
Hillsborough, NJ. 08844
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