As the years pass, our parents and loved ones eventually grow older. With the inevitable aging process comes the knowledge that certain things in life are about to change for them. As a child or caregiver to a senior loved one, you are thinking about their future and know that they may be as well. While the conversation about long term care options at a senior living community may be challenging, senior care conversations should be addressed sooner rather than later.
Not knowing where to start can be the first challenge. What kinds of questions do you ask? How do you even begin the conversation? Below are a few ways you can broach the subject of long-term care options for your senior loved one without seeming overbearing or as though you were trying to drive them to make a decision.
Getting the Ball Rolling
Although thinking about the future can bring about mixed emotions, the foresight to think about your parent’s long-term care today means that you’re on the right track to ensuring their health and happiness in the future. Despite the growing number of seniors in America who will eventually need elder care, most families remain unprepared for aging parents’ long-term care needs, which many experts say is one of the largest expenses adults will encounter throughout their lives.
Many families are reluctant to plan for long term care. The truth is, no one likes to think about aging and the possibility of losing one’s independence. Also, for many, the idea of needing adult nursing or personal assistance with activities of daily living can be disheartening. However, senior living communities offer independence for your senior loved one in an environment where they can remain active and interact with people who share many of their common interests. Senior living communities also help reduce isolation and loneliness that can be a challenge for seniors who remained in an in-home care setting without frequent access to family and friends.
How to Talk About Long Term Senior Care
Even though it might be mildly uncomfortable, it is essential to have a conversation with your senior loved ones about their long-term care options. Here are some ways that you can do that.
Before you even start the conversation, make sure you have set a goal regarding what you’re hoping to accomplish. It is also essential to keep in mind that the first discussion about long term care is not likely to be your last. It may be only the first in a series of conversations before any progress is made. It might be best to keep the first discussion short not to appear overbearing or pushy.
Don’t “Tag Team”
There is indeed strength in numbers for some conversations, but when it comes to sensitive topics, that isn’t always the case. Siblings should avoid appearing as if they are “ganging up” on their senior loved ones. Instead, if there are multiple siblings, appoint one or two adult children to broach the subject. It may feel more comfortable for some families to start this conversation casually, whereas, for others, something more formal or “sit down,” such as a family meeting, may feel better.
Let Your Loved One Maintain Control
Throughout any discussions about your loved one’s long-term care, remind them that they are in control. Be sure to let them know that they are going to make the decisions about their future, not you. This may help to facilitate a healthier, more productive conversation.
Remember that part of planning appropriately for your parents or other senior loved one’s long term care includes not just the initial conversation about when and where but finding out about their entire financial, legal, and medical situations as well. It will also be essential to understand their life decisions regarding medical care or estate planning an ensure that they have the necessary documents and funding strategies in place for you to honor those wishes.
In Home Care or Senior Living Community
The overwhelming majority of aging Americans prefer to stay in their homes as long as possible, and in-home health care can help them to do so safely. You may be unsure of what’s involved in home health care and if it really could be an option for your aging parents down the road. There are many different in-home care services with various options ranging from in-home visits from a care provider design to help with minimal activities of daily living to daily in-home skilled nursing care depending on your loved one’s needs. The cost for in-home care for your senior loved one will vary depending on the services you need, and the care service used.
Other long-term care options for senior loved ones include senior living facilities. Similar in many ways to in-home care, senior living communities allow seniors to maintain their independence but still receive needed assistance with daily living activities and other common day-to-day tasks that they may no longer be able to accomplish easily on their own. At a senior living community medical professionals will assess your loved one and create an individualized personal care program to help meet their specific needs. One other benefit to senior living communities is that they are already designed to meet your loved ones changing needs. As your loved one’s care needs advance, the care provided b