Almost half of America’s 40 to 50-year-old residents are in a unique situation. Because the average life expectancy has increased by almost a decade since the 1960s, they’re caring not only for their children but also for their aging parents.
These individuals are part of what’s been dubbed the “Sandwich Generation”, and they’re struggling to find balance in their own lives while providing for so many others. When caring for elderly parents becomes too much to handle, many wonder if they should bring up the difficult topic of assisted living.
So when is it time for assisted living to enter the conversation? Read on to find out what signs to watch for and how to spot them.
Aging is a fact of life and this affects every family. When imagining our parents as seniors, as adult children, we may not fully comprehend the extent to which their aging will affect them also how it will affect us. If they are seniors already, still in good health and living independently we will not feel any dramatic changes or concerns. However, the time does come when effects of aging become more evident and long-term care is necessary.
Activities of Daily Living Are Difficult
The first sign that it’s time for assisted living care is having difficulty with everyday activities.
As we age, tasks we once took for granted—cooking, cleaning, running errands, and basic hygiene—all become much harder. And if balance, weakness, or forgetfulness is an issue, they can even become dangerous.
An assisted living environment can help your parent regain their lost independence by helping out with the hardest tasks, leaving them enough energy to do the things they love.
You Can’t Provide the Care They Need
When your parent’s medical needs go beyond the care you can give, making the move to assisted living care might be the right decision. Over 40% of people who live in residential care centers have a condition like dementia, arthritis, or hypertension, and many have more complicated diagnoses like Parkinsons’ disease.
Assisted living centers have aides who are trained to give medication and assist with some daily medical procedures. They can help make sure your parent stays as healthy and comfortable as possible.
Your Parent Is Lonely
Loneliness and depression are significant problems for the elderly population. As old friends pass away and it becomes more difficult to get around, many seniors find themselves isolated at home.
One of the largest benefits of assisted living for seniors is that it encourages them to engage in an active social life. They live right next door to neighbors their same age and have aides readily available to help them visit friends.
Make a List of Concerns
At this point, it’s time to make a thorough list of your concerns.
What activities of daily living does your parent struggle with? Do they have medical needs that you can’t care for? Are they dealing with loneliness and depression?
Write down your answers and bring them along when you go to talk with your parent about assisted living.
When Is It Time for Assisted Living? Having the Conversation
Answering the question “when is it time for assisted living?” depends on your individual circumstances and your parent’s needs. But because a change in housing and environment can be so hard to adjust to, it’s better to bring up the topic earlier rather than later.
Caregivers do everything you would want to do for your parents including offer long-term care. The presences of a caregiver should not be allowed to take your place in the lives of your aging parents. The role of caregivers must be given only as caregivers, not children of the aging parent.
This is a gift if you are in the position to play your part. What’s more, they can ensure that your parents enjoy their independence by not needing to live in a nursing home or senior community for many years to come.
Take your list of concerns to your parent and have an honest, gentle conversation about care what you can and can’t provide. Listen carefully to how your parent feels and work together to find the best solution. If that solution is assisted living care, keep them involved in the process of finding a place that’s perfect for them.
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