A common, but strenuous scenario: An aging loved one begins to show signs they need help but refuse any type of support. They insist they are fine but it’s evident that is not true. Perhaps it’s your mom or dad or both. Or perhaps after months or even years, you’re experiencing caregiver burnout. The decision to move parents is rarely an easy one to be made.
Having the conversation and ultimately making the decision to move your elderly parents or loved ones to assisted living or a type of senior living community is one of the hardest decisions a child will have to make. Like most of us, we believe we will be able to take care of ourselves for the rest of our lives. Close family members can be instrumental in identifying new needs that mom or dad never had to experience before.
Why We Feel Guilty
It’s completely normal and understandable to feel guilty for even thinking about placing their loved one in a “home” or “facility” due to their decline in mental or physical health. No one wants to move parents or family members from their beloved home into a strange new environment, let alone into a much smaller room or apartment.
We feel our caregiving efforts, or even our role as a son/daughter, have failed. The roles have reversed where the child is taking care of the parent and this can be hard to accept. Often times, this is a job we simply cannot handle. However, we want nothing more than to simply help our parents and that may mean you have to sacrifice their comfort temporarily to improve their overall quality of life as well as your health and sanity. And most of the time, it’s just a matter of adjusting to their new surroundings which they grow to thrive in and even make new friends!
Our parents may have made us promise to never move them to a “home”. While you also want[MOU2] nothing more than to uphold your word and respect their wishes, what is best for them at the given time may be different than the past. To their surprise, parents will often flourish in an environment where the quality of life has improved from medical, physical, and social standpoints.
- Emotional and Physical Toll
Like many of us, change is hard, and moving to a senior living community is extremely hard. Suddenly, you’re downsizing from an entire house into a 1 or 2-bedroom or studio apartment and now must navigate uncharted territory while trusting caregivers and those around you. The best thing you can do is to be there with them through this process so they do not feel alone and visit often to make sure they are happy with the new change.
Tips to Manage Guilt
- Have the conversation early and often so your parents or loved one does not feel blindsided by your decision to move them. Include all decision-makers to make sure you are all on the same page.
- Express your concerns when you see changes.
Say things like “Mom, I’m worried about your health and do not like to see you like this. Most of the time, parents do not want to burden their child which makes it easier for them to accept change.
- Focus on any victories in the assisted living.
Did your parent enjoy a meal or activity or sleep really well in their new home? When guilt starts to crawl in, remind yourself of all the benefits that come from care, meaningful activities, and nutritious meals throughout the day.
- Accept there will be uncertainty and give time to adjust
As with change, there will be an adjustment period when you move parents or a loved one, just like with children starting a new school for the first time or going to college. But with time and communication, things will get easier. Remember why the choices were made but also remember there may some uncertainty with how things turn out. Working with a senior placement like North Star Senior Advisors can take away some of this doubt as we provide a guided path to senior living and can provide options that can accommodate your loved ones’ level of care and budget.
What Senior Living Options Can You Move Parents to?
An important step in the process to move parents is deciding exactly where your loved ones will live. How well they can still function on their own will determine where your parents should reside as they age.
The process of searching for Senior Living communities can be an overwhelming experience especially when you first get started. With different types, how do you know which one is best for you or your loved one? It can be overwhelming to navigate on your own, especially with all of the COVID19 changes. North Star Senior Advisors can help guide you during this time.
Here is a breakdown of the different types of senior living options and their average cost in the state of Florida:
- Independent Living Facility (ILF)
(Average Cost $2900/month)
Apartment sized communities for seniors who do not need specialized care. They offer housekeeping, dining, events, transportation, activities, and typically pay an all-inclusive monthly rate.
If I’m independent, why would I move to an Independent Living Facility?
Sometimes seniors don’t want to live alone and prefer socialization and oversight. Others prefer to downsize from their large homes to allow others to tend to the housekeeping, meal preparations, and transportation. Health care services are often provided by outside providers who either rent an office in the building or visit the building periodically.
- Assisted Living Facility (ALF)
(Average Cost $3500/month plus the level of care)
With the same amenities offered in Independent Living, along with daily personal care for activities of daily living (ADL’s); bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, and medication oversight. Care staff is available 24/7 to help with care needs.
(Average Cost $4000-$5500/month plus the level of care)
Communities that provide specialized care for those living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia in a secured environment. They still have a quality of life and enjoy activities, personalized care, and medication oversight.
(Average Cost $2500-$3200/month)
A traditional private home that has been converted and adapted to provide care for residents less than 15 but typically around 6 residents with a caregiver to provide assistance with ADL’s. These homes are licensed as assisted living facilities or adult family care homes.
- Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF)
(Average Cost $6000-$8000)
An institution or part of an institution that meets criteria for accreditation established by the sections of the Social Security Act that determine the basis for Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement for skilled nursing care. Skilled nursing care includes rehabilitation and various medical and nursing procedures.
- Respite Stays are Available
(Average Cost $150-$200/day)
Temporary care of a dependent elderly, ill, or handicapped person, providing relief for their usual caregivers. Senior living communities such as assisted living often offer respite stays. This can also be a great option now, more than ever if your loved one is alone and does not have anyone to care for them during this time. They can assist with meals, provide a clean environment, and ensure they are receiving the care they need.
Downsizing & Moving Tips for Seniors
Over time, it’s possible that it may become harder to maneuver throughout the home. This may become an area of concern around safety as one of the biggest concerns for our seniors are falls at the home. Knowing when the appropriate time has come to transition into an assisted living community is of utmost importance. Click here to learn more about tips and downsizing when moving to a new home away from home.
From Overwhelmed and in Denial to Confident and Reassured- A Daughter and Caregiver’s story
About a year ago, we connected with this father and his daughter who contacted us to help find a senior living community. Although we knew it was time to locate an assisted living with memory care for Mr. R., it was still very emotional for his daughter who at the time was his caregiver and had a hard time accepting that he needed more assistance than what she thought. Mr. R had advanced Dementia but was very high functioning and independent so locating a community for him was challenging considering he still wanted to drive and come and go as he pleased.
After months of providing research and guidance of Dementia and memory care/assisted living communities, the daughter was still in denial that memory care is what he truly needed.
The worst was yet to happen.
One day, we received a call that a silver alert was put out for Mr. R for more than 24 hours. To read more. It broke our heart as we knew the best thing for him was memory care in a secured environment but we knew how emotional it was on the daughter to accept this. He was her lifeline and support and having to succumb to the realization that your father needs memory care is very challenging.
Luckily, he was found safe and sound and the daughter came to us as a friend asking if we could start the search again. Although it was difficult to accept her dad needed memory care, she knew it was the best for him given the circumstances. We found a beautiful memory care community that could accommodate all of his needs.
Mr. R just turned 80 and was able to celebrate in his new memory care community surrounded by people who love him. Happy Birthday Mr. R!
The best part of our job is to be that happy story in someone’s life. To be a part of their history and also create new friendships. We love what we do! We don’t just do placements, we guide families through the process of locating assisted living while also being a shoulder to lean on.
With over 20 years of combined experience and compassion, North Star Senior Advisors is here for you and your clients even now through COVID-19! Call 407-796-1582 with any questions regarding senior living options, or protocols in assisted living.