When you’re a kid, your parents and older relatives seem like superheros. So when you grow up and those family members begin to grow older, it can be difficult to witness alterations in their health and well-being. One of the most difficult changes to process is the need for assisted living, and this subject often falls to the adult children to broach. Once you get past the conversation, it’s important to keep in mind that this transition can be even more emotional for your senior loved ones, but there are some things you can do to smooth this transition for all.
Noticing When Things Aren’t Quite Right
There are times when it’s pretty obvious that a senior shouldn’t be living alone. Clear indicators that it’s time to transition into assisted living include a recent fall or challenges with ADLs (or activities of daily living). Still, there are also times when it can be tough to tell. For example, if you think that your loved one may have dementia or Alzheimer’s, understanding the differences between these two chronic conditions can help you make a more informed decision about assisted living.
Some early signs of both of these conditions can include sudden changes in personality or mood, withdrawal from activities, a lack of clear judgement and repetitive questions. To make things slightly more confusing, Alzheimer’s is technically a form of dementia, although this sort of cognitive decline is typically more aggressive. Unfortunately, most seniors with either dementia or Alzheimer’s will eventually need help to stay safe. Once you pick up on the signs that more care is needed, it’s time to have a talk with your loved one.
Researching Senior Living and Care Options
If your loved one seems lonely but is still able to care for him- or herself, assisted living may not be necessary. There are a few other senior living choices that you may want to consider instead, all of which can provide your loved one with some much-needed company without altering his/her living situation so drastically. For example, your loved one may be fine aging in place after a few modifications have been made to the home, or he/she may prefer to move into an independent living community to be closer to other seniors.
You may also be able to connect your loved one with senior services that can make it easier for aging adults to remain in their chosen home longer. For those with dementia or Alzheimer’s, however, opting for memory care may be the safest bet, since these conditions require more specialized care. As you can see, there are multiple choices when it comes to senior living, so it’s extremely important that you research all available options, talk them over with your loved one and choose the one that is the right fit.
Figuring Out How to Pay for Long-Term Care
Aside from determining the level of care your senior loved one needs, it’s also essential to figure out what sort of senior care they can comfortably afford. Just be warned that the cost of senior care can be staggering, with average long-term care expenses being higher in some states than they are in others. Look to online resources to figure out how to cover these expenses. Selling a home could be a viable option for your loved one. While you are figuring out finances, you may also want to look into life insurance plans. Even purchasing a low-cost burial policy may provide some needed peace of mind for you and your loved one.
Moving a senior loved one into assisted living can be an emotional experience. Just try to remember that even superheroes need help from time to time. So use this guide to help your senior superheroes get the assistance they need to preserve their quality of life.
Photo Credit: Unsplash