While it may be an emotionally agonizing conversation to have with one’s parents, there often comes a time for many families when the necessity of moving into an assisted-living facility is something that simply cannot be avoided. Sometimes, parents themselves raise the issue, but often, a slowly evolving process leads a son or daughter to point out that Mom and Dad just might be better off in a more convenient and safe environment, where they are able to access an array of facilities and services specifically geared to their changing needs.
Typically, there is not one thing that initiates this discussion, but rather a series of indicators that leads a family to consider changing living arrangements in order to maintain the standard of life they’ve grown accustomed to in their own home.
Five Indicators of Change
For most people, assessing when gradual alterations in their parent’s lifestyle begin to indicate the need to discuss assisted-living is difficult to gauge. However, there are some observable elements of their lives that are clear indicators.
1. Are they able to do normal house work, maintenance, and yard chores on their own?
2. Can your parents shower, bathe, and handle all regular bathroom activities without help?
3. Is there a clear risk of their falling? And if uninjured, would they be able to get back on their feet unassisted? Do they seem as mobile as they need to be?
4. Do they still cook and prepare balanced & nutritious meals?
5. Have your parents become socially isolated? Are they able to get out and see friends & family on their own?
An inability to handle even one of these situations may mean that it is time to start considering a change in living arrangements.
Can We Talk?
Quite often, raising the idea of moving to an assisted-living location is interpreted by parents as a loss of independence and freedom. The irony is that such a move frequently represents a return to full independence as their increasing dependence on other family members for help can be provided for with much more ease of access and flexibility than they currently enjoy.
An assisted-living arrangement is frequently the doorway to an enhanced lifestyle for one’s parents, and it brings more choices, animation, and fun back into their lives. Parents usually wind-up feeling more comfortable, safer, and less dependent in their new living arrangements.
The bottom line is that a change in living arrangements to adapt to a new phase of life usually results in an improved standard of living for the parents and more peace of mind for their children. And that means everyone is better off.
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