This is a difficult subject for many people to talk about. Your parents raised you, cared for you and gave every moment of their lives to you. When they became older you returned the deeds and cared for them, maybe provided shelter, helped with bills and household maintenance. But there comes a time when you are no longer able to dedicate all of your time to looking after them; you need help, and they need help too.
The sad truth is that nobody wants to go to live in a care home. When we are young and active we live in the hope that we will never require the aid of others in old age. But realities are often different and as the population now lives longer more elderly people are finding it difficult to live alone and their children are often struggling to care properly for their parents.
Whether an elderly relative is living in their own home or living with a child or other relative, they are usually happier to remain in a family home. Few want to move into assisted living. However, often assisted living is the only available option if a person’s health starts to deteriorate. Providing shelter and food is one thing, but providing nursing care is something that few people are equipped to do.
Fortunately there are several options available for you if an elderly relative requires assistance. Care can range from regular visits to their own home to 24-hour care in a nursing home. The type of care depends on the health of the individual. Some elderly people will require constant nursing care to help with every aspect of their life, including washing, dressing and eating. Others may only require some assistance with medication. Those suffering from dementia are often able to look after themselves so long as they are prompted to do so.
Nursing homes are for those who require a nurse to be at hand at all times. People with dementia and Alzheimer’s will almost always require nursing care eventually. Those with mobility issues often eventually need care, and anybody who can no longer get themselves out of bed and dressed by themselves obviously need constant help. Some nursing homes also provide respite care for those who have suffered an illness; this is a short-term solution for those who only require a little extra help to recover before returning home.
Assisted living is for those who are still mostly able to look after themselves but require a little extra care daily. People in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia often benefit the most, as they are able to look after themselves but will need prompting.
Assisted living can provide accommodation in the form of single rooms, apartments or shared accommodation. The idea is that the accommodation should be as much like home as possible and assisted living facilities are designed to help improve the independence of an individual.
Most homes will provide residents with three meals a day, monitor medication, provide assistance with personal care, dressing and bathing. Cleaning and laundry is taken care of and homes will have a 24-hour emergency call service. Many homes are not staffed 24-hours a day but provide emergency aid if it is needed.
For many people a retirement home is needed not for health reasons but for social reasons. People are living longer and retirement for many people can run into three decades or more. The biggest challenge is keeping the mind and body active and fresh. This is why senior living communities have started to become more popular. They provide a safe environment for people to retire to where there are like-minded people. A big advantage for many elderly people is that properties in the communities are
managed for them so there is no need to deal with maintenance, repairs, bills and other legal matters that arise. It really is more like living in a holiday home than moving to a retirement home.
Benefits of living in a senior living community
Living in a senior living community has many advantages. One of the most important is the social aspect of living in a community. Many old people become isolated and spend days or even weeks without any contact with other people. In a care home elderly people are able to socialize with other people with similar interests and common pasts. Many are able to form new friendships for the first time in decades.
Well-run care homes also manage activities throughout the week. Social games, talks and presentations and visits to local places of interest are common.
How to persuade them to move
If you are faced with having to move a parent into assisted living accommodation or a care home you should always highlight the positive reasons for doing so. Talk about the benefits of having staff cook, clean and wash clothes for you. Explain the social aspect, and the fact that your parent will have the chance to talk to people daily.
Also explain how help will be provided to ensure medication is taken and that there is fully trained, professional staff on call at all times. Most importantly explain how good assisted living homes provide a personal space, much like home, and will actually make your parent more independent by giving them the freedom to act without fear of isolation.
Some of the best retirement communities have many activities to keep people entertained, such as craft rooms, swimming pools, salons, libraries, woodworking shops, art studios and gardens. They really are more like a vacation home than a traditional retirement home.