Almost two-thirds of adults 65+ rely solely on family and friends to provide their long-term care needs, according to the Institute on Aging.
But what about the other 35 percent?
Most seniors believe they can stay at home and take care of themselves for the rest of their lives. And many family members believe they can provide the required care for as long as it takes.
You may feel perfectly capable of continuing care at this time, as the idea of putting your parents in a nursing home can seem unsettling. It may even be difficult for you to trust an assisted living community with your parent’s care.
However, you must consider what’s best for Mom or Dad, along with what’s best for your own family. The truth is, situations and circumstances change. Ask yourself if you could maintain care if your parent became ill, had a fall, needed a joint replacement, or an even more serious situation happened.
While you may not yet feel ready to make the decision, it’s never too early to begin the conversation on future care. Have you talked to your parents about it? A frank discussion about how they see their lives progressing in the months and years ahead may be enlightening.
Assisted living - when is it time?
Give yourself and your parents an honest assessment by asking yourself the following questions to see if assisted living might be the right choice.
- Have you or your parents visited an assisted living community in recent years so you know what they’re like? Do they already have friends in assisted living?
- Are your mom and dad getting the most out of life? Are they really able to do all the things they want to?
- Is your parent getting out and interacting with the community?
- Are your parents still taking care of things like shopping, keeping the house clean and in good repair, doing the laundry, taking daily medications, and handling basic finances?
- Can he or she still drive – or have you discussed driving?
Based on your answers to these questions, you’ll have a better idea of what next steps you should take for your parents’ health and well-being. If they’re struggling to live at home alone and missing out on activities they used to enjoy, it may be time to consider assisted living.
Feeling guilty about assisted living: “I’m not ready. Are Mom and Dad?”
Sharing your worries with your parents and letting them know you are concerned for their well-being can make a difference. Few parents want to distress their families. You may be stunned when they say, “You’ve done so much, but we’ve been talking and it’s time to think about a change.”
There are no easy decisions. You may have promised to never put Mom or Dad in a “home”, but needs change and assisted living is no longer what it once was. Modern assisted living communities provide bright, appealing living spaces and engaging activities. Schedule tours at assisted living communities so you can see what options exist before you rule the idea out.
Consider that once they’re settled in, your parent will have an opportunity to participate in daily activities, be near others with similar interests and broaden their network of friends. At the same time, all their medical needs will be looked after.
Life goes on with a full slate of activities and interactions at many assisted living communities today. And you’ll still be an active participant in your parents’ lives – without the stress and worry about their well-being all day, every day.
Does assisted living sound like it might be the right fit? Learn more about the benefits assisted living could offer you and your family.