Do you find yourself more worried each time you visit your parent who is living alone? Do any of these thoughts go through your mind?
“Is Dad losing weight? What is he eating? The house is a mess. Did he take his medication? I hope he doesn’t go down the basement stairs. What if it’s icy outside when he goes out to get the newspaper?”
These concerns are all signals it may be time to consider care assistance for your parent. When his health and safety are at risk because he is living alone, you don’t want to delay researching your options for care.
There are various options, from at-home care and home health agencies to assisted living and long-term care facilities. The key is finding the right place, care and professional support your father and your family needs so he can remain living as independently and actively as possible.
What Kind of Care Does My Parent Need?
Various checklists and tools can help you evaluate your parent and the level of care that would be best. A commonly used checklist is the activities of daily living (ADL) created by PBS.org and AARP. The ADL checklist helps you see the level at which your parent can perform the basic functions, such as bathing, oral care and managing finances, that are recommended for safe at-home living.
Typically, an at-home caregiving situation works best when caregiving is only needed for part of the day and the parent’s home is set up as, or can be converted into, a safe space. When the home layout or location of the home is not ideal, a parent’s needs may be better served in an assisted living home or apartment.
A long-term care facility or nursing home is recommended as the best choice when a parent cannot perform daily tasks such as preparing meals, bathing safely, housekeeping, doing laundry, answering the phone, managing medication, handling bills or other day-to-day activities required for healthy living.
For help assessing your parent and the level of care they need, talk to a family doctor or a healthcare professional in the industry.
Care Options for My Aging Parent
To help you begin your research, learn more about four of the most typical care options:
- Home health care is health care services provided in your parent’s home or your home for a contracted amount of time each day or week. A licensed medical professional stops by the home to assist with daily tasks like bathing, cooking, medical care or transportation.
- Assisted living is an option for someone who needs assistance with some daily activities but can still live independently. An assisted living apartment or home is typically located within a senior living community, where residents can take advantage of the services and amenities of the community, like meals, transportation, housekeeping, and daily activities.
- Long-term or nursing home care is often for a parent who needs daily assistance with everyday tasks and medical care. Look for a long-term care facility that provides comfort for your parent, peace of mind for you, and options for future care, such as dementia care.
- Adult day care provides health care and social activities for seniors during the day. When a parent lives at home or with a caregiver, an adult day care provider may be an option versus staying home alone during the day.
Tips for Getting Your Parent on Board with Care
It may be difficult for Dad to hear he needs assistance or for him to even consider moving from his home. However, when his health and safety are a concern, you don’t want to wait until an accident or crisis situation occurs. It is always best to be proactive when discussing your parent’s future care. Use these tips to help you start the conversation.
- Ease into the conversation. Start with something positive and try to focus on the benefits of getting help with daily care.
- Choose the best messenger. Are you the best person to broach the topic? Would it come across better from his doctor, friend or another neutral third party?
- Be careful not to personally insult. No one wants to hear his house is a mess or that he looks awful. Focus on the benefits of having someone to do housekeeping or not having to worry about getting groceries.
- Be patient. Don’t force a decision the same day you bring up the topic. Be proactive so your parent has time to consider the option and let it sink in.
- Revisit the conversation. Transitions such as this often take ongoing dialogue and research. Stay supportive of your parent as you continue the conversation and bring new resources and information to the table.
Interested in more information about this topic? You may also like “Does my parent need assisted living or long-term care?”