It can be extremely scary acknowledging that it is time to look at senior care options for a parent. Your mom and dad were there for you throughout your life, serving as a built-in support system. When you were learning how to ride a bike and needed someone to support you until you gained your balance, it was your mom and dad who provided that support. When you were in college and had a flat tire in a questionable part of town in the middle of the night, your immediate reaction was to call your parents for help. Through getting married and having babies and every other milestone in your life, the unknown wasn’t as intimidating because you knew your parents were there for you.
Now it’s time for you to be their support system. When they have less independence than they once had and need to look at senior care options, it’s your time to be there for them. Looking at senior care options might feel overwhelming, so we’ve put together a few tips to lighten your burden:
Three Tips for Finding the Right Assistance for Your Parents
- Look outside the nursing home.
One of the reasons that finding support for your parent is so difficult is the stigma associated with a nursing home. Nursing homes feel so medical and dreary and devoid of hope (which isn’t always the case, but it would seem so).
However, even if putting your parent in a nursing home is the last thing in the world you want for them, there are still other great senior care options that might give them the support they need. There are in home caregivers for the elderly that provide the care your parent would get in a nursing home, but in the comfort of their own home, if needed. If your parent doesn’t need around-the-clock care, you might find they just need companionship or mobility guidance to function as you’d hope for them. There are caregivers who specialize in less hands-on care. Or, your parent might thrive in an assisted living community, where they have care if they need it, but still enjoy their independence. The point is, nursing homes are the only options for getting your parent the care they need.
- Involve your parent in the discussion.
Talking about throwing in the towel on their independence is likely upsetting for your mom or dad, so it might feel easier to just find the best option for them and then try to help them adjust to it. However, the more that your parent feels like they have ownership of their living situation, the easier the transition will be for them. Talk to them about the options, and help them feel invested in the choice that is made. It might be tougher up front, but it will make the move to getting support far easier. And if your parent is comfortable with their living arrangement (because they had a say in it when it was being decided), it will have a better impact on their health than if they feel thrown into a new environment.
- Ask questions and be picky.
Choosing the right care for your parent when they need assistance will have a profound impact on their health and well-being. This isn’t a small decision. While you are looking at the care options available to you, don’t shy about asking questions and making sure you have all the facts about the living arrangement your parent will be in. A few good things to bring up include:
- Will the certified caregiver be consistent, or do they rotate patients? Consistency is very important for many age-prone ailments, such as dementia.
- Do you get to interview the caregivers who will be working with your parent? Even if you love the ideals and the concept of a caregiver agency, when it boils down to it, what matters is the actual people who will be working with your parents on a daily basis. Ask if you can meet them and get a feel for how your parent would do with them.
- Do the caregivers provide anything more than personal care? Housecleaning, getting groceries, or assisting with outings are not always included in the care, but might improve your parent’s quality of life.
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