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Making the Assisted Living Decision

Helping a parent, grandparent, or loved one choose a living option for their golden years can be an emotionally taxing decision. There are many factors to consider: how independent your loved one is, his or her mental and physical health, what is financially reasonable, and, most importantly, what your loved one feels is the best option. There are many options available, but many families find that assisted living provides a comfortable balance of safety and independence.

The first and most important thing you must understand about assisted living is that not all assisted living facilities operate on the same level. That is, the level of assistance varies from place to place. Some residences provide light housekeeping help and brief check-ins from staff as needed. Others provide medication administration, full meal services, and planned activities. It is important that you survey all facilities in your area to get a clear picture of what’s available and what fits best with the needs and lifestyle of your loved one.

The topic of what your loved one needs can be a sensitive one. You might disagree with them on the level of assistance they require, particularly if the person in question is one of your parents. It is not uncommon for children to want to put their parents in a situation where a higher level of care is available. It is also common for parents entering an assisted living facility to be resistant and fight for their independence. Both of these situations make perfects sense – children love their parents and want the comfort of knowing they are safe, comfortable, and cared for, and parents are still vital, vibrant people who want to feel dignified, respected, and self-sufficient. As difficult as a situation like this might be, it is important to spend time talking it through, and perhaps even bring in the opinion of an objective third party to aid in your decision. It’s one of the most important decisions you will ever make, one that will affect the health and happiness of your parent or other loved one. Inform yourself, put their health first, choose carefully, and most importantly, do what you can to ensure your relationship stays strong throughout the decision making process. Consider having a doctor or other third party weigh in will in during this aspect of the process. 

 Sometimes the reverse situation takes place, and your senior loved one might feel they need a higher level of assistance than you feel is necessary. In this situation, it might be a good idea to go with their instinct, as it is better to be safe than sorry. A higher level of assisted living might come at a higher cost, one that you might not want to pay if it’s not necessary. Just remember that most people have strong instincts about their body and health, and even your loved one appears to be in good health, they might not be. Staying in constant communication with their doctor will help you make you and your loved one reach the best decision together.

 Once an appropriate level of care has been decided upon, it’s time to begin the transition process. You might feel relieved of a great deal of stress once a facility has been decided upon, but just remember that some challenges still lie ahead. Your loved one might, understandably so, find it difficult to give up their home and many of their possessions to move into an assisted living facility. They might also struggle with accepting the lowered level of independence. Remember to be positive, supportive, and available if they need someone to talk to. Remember also to grant them any independence they can handle. Your loved one will value the chance to do things on their own, so remember to think twice before you do everything for them.

 It is important for both you to remember that a move to an assisted living facility is in no way a diminishment of dignity.  Your elder loved one is moving to a place where their needs will be met and the senior is free to live a full, enjoyable life.  It is not a move to an “old folk’s home” where seniors are left by busy family members.  It is a continuation of a full, happy and active life.

 Moving a loved one to an assisted living facility might be a challenging or difficult experience for your family. If that is the case, just remember that there are many, many positive aspects to the change, and that over time, you’ll see that it benefits everyone, in terms of both health and happiness.

If you’re unsure of which assisted living options are best for your loved one, contact the team at Palm Court. They are always available to answer your questions.

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