Life is full of changes and transitions. One of the most challenging of these is the relationship between children and parents over time. In the beginning it’s the parent’s job to raise and care for their child. As time goes on, however, the roles begin to reverse in some ways. Parents get older and oftentimes less independent. When this happens, it’s typically their child’s job to take care of them. Some people need assistance grocery shopping, while others need more focused attention. This transition from independence to dependence is never easy, but it doesn’t have to be painful.
Assisted living centers (also known as nursing homes) are places where less independent elderly and disabled people can live under the care and attention of nurses and professionals to ensure their health, well-being, and happiness. Most of these care facilities provide meals, plenty of activities, comfortable living spaces, and more. As good as this might sound, some people have a hard time accepting that they need to live in a care facility such as these. But at some point there’s only so much you can do to take care of your parents. People need to work, take care of their own kids, and find time for leisure. So finding a good assisted living center is often the best way to ensure your parents are taken care of when you can’t be around. If a parent doesn’t want to move, however, how can this problem be resolved?
There are three major things to keep in mind when having this discussion and making this transition. If you’re in this situation right now, you might find these three tips helpful.
1) Do Your Homework
Of course the first step of any major transition like this is to do extensive research. In this context that means first searching for assisted living facilities that are either close to you or the person in need of assistance. Ideally this place will be close to you so you can visit frequently, but not so far from the person in need that they feel they’re being uprooted from their community and familiar space. In addition to finding some nearby places, looking at reviews is the next step. One major advantage to Internet searching is that most assisted living centers are reviewed by patients and relatives to let other prospective members know what their experience is like. Reading these reviews and even reaching out to some of these reviewers is a great way to know what you’ll be in for.
2) Scope the Place Out
Once you have a few contenders, it’s crucial to visit the place yourself, and if possible, to bring along your parent or whoever might be living there in the future. They’re going to be the one potentially living there, after all. Be sure to call ahead and plan a visit so management can expect you and give you a tour. Pictures and reviews online are a good start, but there’s nothing like being in the building itself, getting a feel of the atmosphere, seeing the members and staff, and even chatting with some of them. By visiting, you’ll also get a chance to possibly sample the food and see what activities and events they have to offer.
3) Honesty is Everything
At the root of this whole transitional process is trust and transparency. It’s not always easy, but it’s key to be honest with the person who needs assistance. Tell them how important it is to you that they have the attention and care necessary to keep them well. Make sure they know that it’s not your intention to uproot them from their home or get them out of your hair, but rather that it’s what’s best for everyone. Also try to keep them in the loop in terms of your research and visitations. Let them have a say in where they’re going since it’s their life and their decision. Be convincing but not aggressive. Be assertive but kind. This is a big step, and often a difficult one. The more honesty there is, the easier the whole process becomes.
Cost is another factor to keep in mind, of course. Ultimately, though, these three things are the cornerstones of this decision. So do your research, plan a visit, and keep an open dialogue with your loved one.