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.
The best time to begin the discussion and listen to your parent’s wants and concerns is when they are active and in good health. They may have heard myths or had past experiences with their own parents that color their views. They also may not realize the many changes and advancements that have been made in the industry or the options now available.
Don’t jump in like a drill instructor and start giving orders. It may not be easy for them to consider leaving their home some day or to even think about “getting old.”
Be patient. Ask questions. Give mom and dad a chance to share their thoughts, hopes, and fears. You may be surprised; they may have been thinking about these decisions for a while, too, and worrying how to talk about it with you.
Explore Local Opportunities
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 care and services the community provides. Call an admissions representative at the community to get some basic questions answered. Narrow down the options, and when your parent is ready, suggest that you explore the options together.
Again, begin the conversation and have a plan in place before any decisions must be made. You and your parent will be better because of it.
About Maine Veterans’ Homes
Maine Veterans’ Homes offers six communities throughout Maine that care for Veterans, their spouses, and Gold Star parents. Each Home offers various services from short-term skilled nursing care, memory care, rehab and therapy to assisted living and long-term care. To learn more, and to help you and your parent choose a senior living community, download our Free Guide >>>