When you care for a senior loved one, it’s difficult to know when you’re doing enough and when they need something more than you can offer. To ensure they have what they need, you have to be willing to recognize where you fall short. While the signs will be different for everyone, there are a few universal indicators that can help you evaluate their – and your – situation.
Three of the most prevalent are:
- Poor nutrition. When a senior lives alone, even when they have support, they are still responsible for preparing many of their own meals. If they are unable to feed themselves properly, which may be indicated by them gaining or losing weight, additional help is needed.
- Unmanaged hygiene. Many seniors will neglect bathing, brushing teeth, and changing clothes as their motor functions begin to fail.
- Inability to handle daily tasks. Eating and bathing aside, a senior may be in need of assisted living if they can’t handle things like driving, using the oven, or loading and unloading the washing machine. They might, for example, leave a boiling pot of water on the stove or try to get out of their vehicle without putting it into park.
AgingCare has a more comprehensive list available on their website, but the above three are good starting points.
How to talk to your loved one
For many of us, approaching our aging parents or grandparents about assisted living is the hardest part. It’s an emotional hurdle but one you have to cross.
Before you even bring up the conversation, sit down and make a list of your concerns. The American Seniors Housing Association also suggests that you get acquainted with care options. Your loved one might not need assisted living, and there are many adult daycare options available that can help prolong your senior’s overall independence.
When you are finally ready, the biggest thing to remember is to approach them with compassion and respect. Be logical, but also listen to their concerns, which might be more emotional in nature. Assure them that your goal is not to take away their ability to care for themselves but to empower them to live their best life.
Assisted living varies in cost depending on the facility you choose and what part of the country you live in. And paying for it might necessitate a bit of financial juggling. One thing your loved one could do is sell their home if there’s a nice chunk of equity. The proceeds from the sale could comfortably cover the costs of assisted living or skilled nursing care for many years to come.
Selling a family home is no small feat, however, and comes with numerous challenges, even more so during the pandemic. Moving from the home they’ve known for so many years will be tough, so you want to offer your loved one plenty of emotional support throughout this transition and beyond. This includes help with decluttering, paring down belongings, finding the right facility, and just listening. You’ll also need to take extra safety precautions throughout the listing process and once moving day arrives to help protect against infection.
The thought of losing independence is a tough pill to swallow for seniors who have been caretakers themselves their entire life. When the time comes for assisted living, more than anything, remember your reasons for initiating the change. You want them to be safe, healthy, and happy. Keep this in mind, and they will know that your heart is in the right place.
For caregivers wanting to start their own caregiving agency business, consider Home Care How To for professional insight as well as coaching opportunities. Learn more today so you can start to carve out your path!
Article by Lydia Chan
Image via Pixabay