It’s your parents who you relied on and turned to for advice, support and wisdom when it mattered most. So what happens when the roles are reversed, and it’s your turn to give them advice, offer support and start the conversation to consider options for their care as they get older? It’s probably one of the most difficult conversations you will ever have.
“It can be overwhelming to consider but absolutely something you shouldn’t put off,” says Jamey Nixon, Manager at Brookdale Waxahachie. “Now more than ever before, so many options exist for older Americans, so the earlier you start the dialogue, the more likely it is you will be able to offer your parents several options to consider.”
When beginning the conversation, let your parents know that you want to support them in their desire to maintain independence, but you also have to consider their safety and quality of life. An example would be as follows:
“I love you, and I’m worried about you. I’ve noticed that you are having more difficulty getting around lately. It’s not wise to wait until something happens before we start to talk about your wishes for your care as you get older. Let’s consider fully the many options that exist to help you remain independent as long as possible and ensure your quality of life remains consistent.”
It can require several attempts before your parents are open to the conversation, so don’t give up. Also consider asking about their needs, wants and concerns for the future. This can be of significant influence and offer valuable insight as you prioritize the options that exist for your loved one.
Solutions that offer the care older individuals need to maintain their quality of life are available, and it’s important to do your research ahead of time and know about the available levels of care and resources.
“Assessing a senior’s unmet needs is a first step in evaluating what options may best improve their quality of life,” said Nixon. “It’s also important to consider physical and mental capabilities as well as overall health and wellness, factors that can be pivotal when considering a senior’s plan for care.”
Many seniors are familiar with skilled nursing homes, which is a solution for those who require a high level of medical care. Today however, there are many more options for different stages of health and wellness, from independent living to assisted living, which provides help with bathing, dressing and daily activities of living, and Alzheimer’s and dementia care.
Even in-home care is available in many cases to seniors requiring an individual care plan to meet their personal needs.
Services including specialized care like physical therapy which can improve strength, mobility and range of motion, and personal care, which can be delivered in many different types of settings as well.
“There’s no getting around it; this may be an extremely challenging conversation to have with your parents or elderly loved ones,” says Nixon, “but, it’s important to their long-term well-being and happiness that they select the best lifestyle and care option for their given situation. Whether the choices include remaining in their home with external services or considering a senior community, we know all the available options and are here to help find a viable solution.”
Broaching the topic of senior care needs is essential to finding the right fit for your loved one to ensure the quality of care necessary for an optimal life. The conversation is best started by the adult children who have their parent’s best interests at heart.
Jamey Nixon is the sales manager at Brookdale Senior Living in Waxahachie. Brookdale Senior Living Inc. is the leading operator of senior living communities throughout the United States. Brookdale operates independent living, assisted living, and dementia-care communities and continuing care retirement centers, with approximately 1,039 communities in 46 states and the ability to serve approximately 102,000 residents as of June 30, 2017.