When you were growing up, your parents sweated over having “the talk” with you. Now, decades later, you may be feeling the same anxiety over “the talk” you need to initiate with your parent.
Caring for an aging parent is seldom easy. What would he want? What care is available? How do I ensure he gets the best care possible?
The best advice … don’t wait to have the conversation with your parent! It’s always important to be aware of your parent’s overall health so you can plan for the future together. Also, broaching the subject of long-term care before it’s needed can make a transition smoother and less stressful if the time comes. Waiting until a traumatic experience comes into play – an illness, fall or stroke – can force a decision within hours. That leaves little or no time to ponder options or explore opportunities.
Be Proactive When Discussing Long Term and Skilled Nursing Care
The best time to begin the discussion and listen to your parent’s wants and concerns is when he is active and in good health. He may have heard myths or had past experiences with his own parents that color his views. He may not realize the many changes and advancements that have been made in the industry nor the options now available.
Don’t jump in like a drill instructor and start giving orders. It may not be easy for him to consider leaving his home some day or to even think about “getting old.”
Be patient. Ask questions. Give dad a chance to share his thoughts, hopes and fears. You may be surprised; he may have been thinking about these decisions for a while, too, and worrying how to talk about it with you.
Explore Local Opportunities For Long Term Care
Many people find comfort in knowing they will be staying close to their established ties, friends and community or will be close to their children. Explore what options are near your parent’s home and what options exist near you. Not all long-term care centers are the same. Some specialize in rehabilitation, some in memory care and others in skilled nursing. Find a community that provides a culture of people who your parent would be comfortable with.
Begin with an online search for communities. Check out their websites to get a sense of the culture, care and services the community provides. Call a specialist at the community to get some basic questions answered and schedule a tour. Narrow down the options, and when your parent is ready, suggest he go on a tour with you. Witnessing daily life and interactions can be the best way for all to get a good feeling about a resident community.
Begin the conversation and have a plan in place before any decisions must be made.
Maine Veterans’ Homes has six locations throughout Maine, each welcoming our honored veterans. We would love to answer your questions and give you a tour. Contact Maine Veterans’ Homes online or give us a call at 800-278-9494.