If one of your parents needs assisted living or long-term care, your family has likely been processing this transition for a while. You may anticipate speaking with your aging parent about transitioning out of their home, finding activities that they enjoy in the facility, and packing belongings in the downsizing process. What happens, though, when one parent needs a care home or medical assistance on a daily basis --- and the other parent doesn't? It can be difficult for everyone involved to separate a couple that has been together for a long time. Today, Senior Care Access shares some tips for dealing with the transition in an emotionally healthy, compassionate manner.
1. Find the Right Type of Care
Not all assisted living facilities or long-term care homes offer the same levels of care. If your parent who needs care has Alzheimer's, they will need drastically different care than someone who has extensive physical disabilities. One parent may be able to live independently at home, while the other needs a wheelchair and several assistive devices that make independent living unsafe. Speak to long-term care homes, stand-alone memory care homes, and assisted living residences in your area to determine the right type of care before you proceed.
2. Talk to the Other Parent About Downsizing the Existing Home
If you and your parents have realized that the cost of assisted living needs to be prioritized instead of paying an expensive mortgage, it may be time to consider downsizing. Consider calling a realtor to discuss what may need to be fixed or changed throughout the house. For example, there may be leaking pipes, cracked windows, or an outdated-looking bathroom that needs work before putting the home on the market.
Selling the home and moving into a smaller space may help pay for assisted living. You can discuss with your parent his or her option to purchase or rent a smaller home or a condo, and you may want to consider having them stay with you while sorting out this part of the assisted living puzzle for the other parent.
3. Practice Listening With Empathy
Sometimes your parents need help managing finances, care options, and accessibility matters at home — but at other times, your mother or father may simply want someone to listen to their worries or needs. For example, if your dad is healthy and can live independently while your mom is transitioning to a memory care home, he may feel as though he failed her, or that he should be the one taking care of her.
Listen carefully to what your parents say — and don't say — during this time. Consider arranging a visit with a counselor as needed if your parents seem willing to speak to a professional, or connect with services in your area that can help you and your parents work through this transition together.
Transitioning to assisted living can be difficult, but it doesn't have to be painful. Use the tips above to help both parents navigate this time in their life with ease, expect a few roadblocks, and consult professional counselors, movers, and physicians for help as needed.
For help searching for senior housing and services, check out Senior Care Access and let us know if you have any questions!
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Contributed by: Marie Villeza, ElderImpact.
Marie Villeza is passionate about connecting seniors with the resources they need to live happy, healthy lives. So she developed ElderImpact to provide seniors and their caregivers with resources and advice.