When it’s time to consider assisted living for your senior loved one, you’re likely to encounter worries and fears from both sides. You can help yourself by doing your research into the topic of assisted living and choosing the best possible community – and you can help your loved one by ensuring you take the time to address his or her fears one by one and comprehensively. Any change is scary on some level for most people, and moving into a community and leaving home is a time of great upheaval for seniors, even when they know it is the best option. Here, we’ll look at three of the most common fears about assisted living and how to handle them:
1. Loss of independence
Your loved one may feel that getting assistance with activities of daily living will in some way diminish his or her independence. After all, he or she won’t be making breakfast and sitting down with the paper every morning, and changes to routine that come from outside of oneself are difficult. However, try to look at this help differently. Without having to worry about cleaning, cooking or taking care of a yard, Mom and Dad can spend more time doing what they love, whether that’s socializing with other residents in the community or relaxing with a favorite hobby. Routines will change, but it’s likely that they need to if a move to an assisted living community is necessary. No matter how much Mom loves to cook, if she can’t always do it for herself anymore, losing that task is a positive.
2. Being neglected
Many seniors fear that moving into an assisted living community means their loved ones will forget about them or believe they are no longer their responsibility. There is a damaging stereotype of adult children simply dropping their parents off at a community and leaving, rarely to return. The best way you can allay this fear is by doing what you say you will do – visiting frequently. This will be even easier if you pick a community close to your home, work or another location where you frequently find yourself. If it’s only a couple of blocks out of the way of your usual commute, your parents’ new home is likely to be a frequent destination for you. Set a visiting schedule and stick to it.
3. Quality of care
If your parents need some level of medical care, whether it’s frequent appointments or help with their medications, it’s easy to fret about whether the care they receive will be good enough. This is true with any assisted living move – it’s hard to instill trust in strangers, after all. Combat this by visiting a number of assisted living communities with your parents and getting to know the people who work there. Also, ask about how staff members are trained, the kinds of certifications they have and how long the average tenure tends to be. The more training and longer tenure, the better – a staff that is knowledgeable and invested in working with seniors is one that will take good care of your parents. Share this knowledge with your loved ones if they express fear that they will not be taken care of well.
With a little thought and planning, you can address fears about assisted living and make the transition as smooth as possible for your loved ones. If you need more help getting your parents used to the idea of moving into an assisted living community, speak to the staff at the community you prefer for more ideas and to arrange a visit. Seeing what a community is really like can change your parents’ minds more quickly than conversations might.