In many cases, our elderly parents have been living independently in their own homes for a very long time; starting a conversation about moving into a long-term care (LTC) facility can be stressful and difficult. Despite our concerns for their health, safety, and well-being, our senior parents often feel like they are perfectly fine right where they are and they are loath to give up their homes, their independence, and their autonomy.
Stress is a regular part of life and moving to a new residence is often regarded as one of the most stress-inducing events we can experience. And, when it comes to moving to a long-term care community, that stress can be exacerbated by feelings of anxiety about leaving a home they’ve known for years and having to adhere to rules and regulations set by someone else.
For families of the elderly, there can be tremendous relief from stress just knowing that mom and/or dad will always have someone nearby to take care of their daily needs and to assist them should any illness or accident occur. Nevertheless, getting them to agree to the move into such an environment can be a whole stressful event in and of itself.
Here are three things to remember when approaching conversations about making the move to a long-term care community.
While everyone’s standards of living, home maintenance, and self-care routines can vary widely, the main priority on everyone’s mind is safety.
As people age, our abilities, habits, and routines can change. That’s not always a bad thing, but it can put us at risk for new challenges, accidents, or dangers. A decreased sense of balance can mean a higher chance of falling; losing our sense of smell can mean we miss signs of a gas leak or don’t notice spoiled food; and a less-defined schedule can lead to forgetting important tasks like flossing, taking out the trash, or scheduling a checkup.
These small slip-ups or missed accomplishments can happen to everyone from time to time, no matter the age. But, as we get older, a fall or a missed doctor’s appointment can have greater consequences; especially if these issues keep happening.
Communities for aging adults are designed to promote day-to-day safety with accessible floorplans, ready-made food, in-house medical care, and easy-to-reach staff members.
That means that your aging loved one can focus on the hobbies, interests, and pleasures they care about most, without fretting over meal planning, retrofitting their home for accessibility reasons, basic health care, or other concerns.
It can be very difficult for your parents to consider leaving home for an assisted living facility, nursing home, or other long-term care community but that it’s often the best way to ensure a safe and healthy livelihood
Start the conversation by letting your parent know that they are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves, but that it will relieve your own stress and anxiety if you know that they are living in a situation that helps to ensure their safety. In other words, make it more about you and your anxiety than their inability to care for themselves. Remind them that accidents happen no matter who old or young we are and that being alone isn’t beneficial for anyone regardless of age or capability.
We will each be faced with big decisions and evolving needs as we age. Some of those can be made while we’re still coherent in our thinking and confident in our decision-making abilities—but some could end up being made for us. And even when someone who loves us and cares about us is making those choices, most of us would rather stay in the driver’s seat, so to speak, for as long as possible.
Remind your loved one that while it may not be pleasant or easy to make decisions about their long-term care before they feel they are ready or that they really need to, it is often better to be proactive in considering their options rather than having to make quick spur-of-the-moment choices once an incident has occurred or another factor is forcing their hand.
If your parent or family members can sense that home care, home health care, a long-term care community, or other long-term support is in their future, ask them to start thinking about what they want, along with what they don’t want, right now.
Having a proactive conversation about assisted living can help avoid putting the family in a position of having to force them out of their home. Ask mom and dad to take advantage of the opportunity to plan their own future today.
Long-term care communities offer a number of important benefits, but those don’t usually come cheap. In fact, the cost of assisted living, nursing home, and other LTC facilities can sometimes leave families with sticker shock.
Remember that the cost of long-term care communities typically includes more than just rent and accounts for many of the line items in a typical budget for independent living: utilities, meals, health care, some prescriptions, and even transportation. Be sure to take all of those variables into account when comparing scenarios.
And don’t forget about long-term care insurance! If your elderly parent or loved one has an LTC policy, those benefits can help cover the costs and ensure that getting the bills paid isn’t a barrier to getting the care they need.
LTC policies can vary widely and claims must be filed each and every month.
Navigating the process of long-term care insurance policies and claims can be overwhelming. Family Solutions for Care can help you make sense of your benefits and manage claims on your behalf! Read more about our services or call us today at 844-858-4500.