Often adult children are called upon to make one of the most difficult decisions of their life when elderly parents (who up until then had been independent and lived alone), grow frail and need assistance in order to remain safe.
There comes a time when you need to have ‘the talk.’ Often it happens quickly, a parent has a heart attack or a stroke, or falls and is taken to the hospital and the doctor says that the older person can no longer live on his or her own.
Sometimes there is resistance, with the parent saying, “I’m not moving.”
So, how do worried family members convince a parent who is resistant to moving, that a long-term care community is in their best interest?
Start the Discussion
It doesn’t matter how old your parent(s) may be, but the time to begin talking about the future is as early as possible. You want to talk about possibilities, the ‘what if’s’ of what your parent may want in certain situations.
- What if you fall and can’t live at home because of the stairs?
- What if you have a heart attack or a stroke and need more care than we can provide?
- What if there is a fire or storm?
Fear of the Unknown
Most people resist change, even if it is something that may make life easier and better. It is difficult to let go of the life they have lived and the home they have lived in for many years. It is a fear of the unknown.
Talk about the Future Early
If you talk about these things early, you’ll have an idea of how he or she would be able to cope should an emergency situation arise.
Tell them You’re Worried About Them
When having ‘the talk,’ makes it more about it being ‘your’ problem, not theirs. Instead of saying ‘you need to do this or that,’ tell them you are worried about them, you are concerned about their safety and you want the best for them.
Remind them that when you were growing up, they worried about you, and often had you do things that you didn’t want to do, or didn’t let you do things you wanted to do, because they loved you and they wanted to keep you safe. You let them know that you love them and want to keep them safe and sometimes this means that they have to move from their home to a senior Independent or Assisted community.
Few parents want to have their children worry about them. They want to feel as independent as possible.
When they say, ‘I’m not ready yet.’, you could say, ‘who wouldn’t want to have their meals made, housekeeping and laundry done, and be with other people around and activities to do?’ It sounds ideal.
Often, making a decision to move a parent to a long-term care community is a loving act on the part of an adult child. The quality of that parent’s life becomes better because they are eating on a regular schedule and eating a balanced diet. They have others around for socialization and mental stimulation. With someone else making sure they are taking their medication on a regular basis, their medical situation can improve, also. The parent often finds their life is greatly improved and they thrive.