How to Choose When and Which Assisted Care Facility is Right for a Parent
As an adult, watching your parent age can be a bit of a bittersweet moment. It’s wonderful to have them around and for them to be a part of your life well into your adult years, but at the same time, their health may start to decline, and it can reach the point where you question if it’s safe for them to live by themselves.
But how do you know when the time is right to move them to an assisted care facility? What are the major signs and red flags to look for? And if you are going to move them, what facility is right for them? How do you pick the ideal place?
Here we’ll take a closer look at those in-depth questions and concerns so that the decision can be smoother for you and them. It’s all about putting their health and well-being first.
Red Flags Can Act as Early Indicators
For many families, the toughest part about the decision is knowing when the right time is to move a parent into an assisted living facility.
Some parents may request the move if they feel it would benefit them or their doctor may recommend it, but in other cases, you are left on your own to navigate the waters and pick the right time. This can create a lot of stress, worry, and even sadness as it’s not always an easy topic to discuss.
One way to alleviate the stress you’re feeling is to be aware of the common red flags to watch for. These can be early warning indicators that signal it’s time to start having a conversation with them about the possibility of long-term senior care facilities, what they offer and how they may be beneficial to their well-being.
What Are the Most Common Red Flags?
The red flags can vary — after all, each person is unique, but some tend to be common. Your parent may exhibit only one or two on this list or a handful. No matter the number, it’s worth looking deeper. Common red flags can include:
- They have trouble with their daily routine and can’t do it without assistance. Their daily routine includes such things as getting up, getting moving, getting washed and dressed, and moving around the house. These are the basics of any routine and shouldn’t be causing stress or hardship to your parent.
- They have a hard time remembering to take all their medication on time. This one is especially important as the medication is likely very important to their health so they can’t skip doses, or even worse, take too many doses because they are unable to keep track.
- They have a hard time making/preparing meals and then eating. Proper nutrition is imperative to their health, so you need to know they are getting a healthy well-balanced diet. The issue can also expand to not being able to do their grocery shopping.
- It doesn’t matter if they live in a large or smaller house, chores are part of daily living. Keeping the house tidy may not be fun but it’s necessary. Again, this can be a red flag as the chores may become too much for them to handle. This includes outdoor chores if they have a yard.
- Are they forgetting doctor appointments or not making them on time? These are important appointments that can’t be missed.
- Loneliness, sadness, and even depression can start to settle in as a parent age, especially if they don’t get a lot of visitors or don’t have a social circle. You may notice a change in their attitude or mood, which is worth chatting about and asking them what’s going on.
- Depending on their health, mobility can be a huge red flag. Have they had any recent falls? Are the falls increasing in frequency? Have these falls led to injuries?
How to Have the Conversation
So, what happens if your parent does exhibit some of these red flags and you’re more convinced than ever that an assisted living facility is the right choice for them? How do you have that conversation with them?
Generally speaking, honesty is the best approach. Have a frank, honest but loving, and supportive conversation with them. Let them know their physical and mental well-being is your top priority and you are worried about them.
The next step can be to schedule a couple of tours at assisted living facilities. This doesn’t mean you have to make a choice right then and there; it’s simply an opportunity to tour the facility, the rooms, the common areas, and the grounds and get a real feel for what this style of living offers. It can be a wonderful way to quell some of the fear and doubt they may be having.
What to Look for in an Assisted Living Facility
In terms of picking the right facility for them, there is no magic solution or formula to use. It comes down to several features and amenities.
Some of the things you may want to look for in an assisted living facility for your parent can include:
- Private rooms that allow them to display personal décor
- A varied and healthy menu
- Recreational activities on-site
- Social activities on-site
- A caring team of nurses
- A wellness program
- A customized care approach
- Outdoor grounds to use
- Memory care (if needed)
Keep in mind that whatever they need right now as they enter the facility may change, so it’s good to know the facility can accommodate future needs as well.
This will save you and your parent the stress of having to move to another facility should their health decline. For example, if they develop Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, you want to know if the facility can accommodate them fully.
No matter how you look at it, deciding the time is right for your parent to move to an assisted living facility is never going to be an easy phase in life. However, these tips and red flags to watch for can help to make it a little smoother for all.
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