In a recent post, I shared what Allyn Rawling said about what to consider when mom or dad are moving out of the family home. Ms. Rawling addressed some of these factors, especially the benefits that assisted living can provide – eliminating possible isolation, ensuring safety, among others. Here are some other aspects to look for when you next visit your loved one.
First, you may notice and overall unraveling of your loved one’s quality of life. For instance, the home itself isn’t well kept and there are safety hazards that have gone unnoticed. You may find that your loved one isn’t taking care of themselves as well as they should, especially when it comes to grooming, bathing, and feeding themselves. Bills might be going unpaid. It is important to note however, that some of these factors may be fixable with some caregiving consultation and changes around the house. However, moving out of the home may be an option that your parents might have to consider.
Second, the family home may simply no longer be safe for your loved one. If the stairs are too steep or if help is not readily available when there is a need, a safer residence may be in order. If mom or dad show bruises, but do not admit that they have fallen – perhaps more than once – it may be time to talk to your parents about independent living. Remember to underscore the “independent” in the living option, because they may have images of the last generation’s “old folk’s home” or some other outdated stereotype.
Third, it is a tough topic to bring to your parents as they’ll want to keep their independence as long as possible, again a reason to emphasize the “independent” in independent living. Be patient. Start the conversation well before an immediate decision is required. Also, help to make it their decision, their process and their terms. If your older parent does not own the decision, guess who will own it, and that will be a costly bit of ownership for you as a caregiver.
Charlotte Bishop is a Geriatric Care Manager and founder of Creative Case Management, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families in metropolitan Chicago. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.