At What Point Do You Start Talking About Long-Term Care with an Aging Parent (Such as Assisted Living)?

When we witness somebody we love getting older, their decision-making deteriorates, their physical abilities decline, and we want to jump in and rescue them. We don’t want them to flail out there in the open ocean without support. Sometimes, though, we can get too caught up in our desire to be there for those very loved ones, like an elderly parent, spouse, or grandparent, for example, that we overlook their independence. Their autonomy.

Assisted living is one of the best elder care choices for those getting up there in years. Even for somebody who can still take care of themselves for the most part, assisted living can offer a sense of community, wonderful activities, and an outlet for exercise, fellowship, and safety. That loved one in your life, that person who is getting older, may get all of that at home, too, but as time marches on and as their health challenges increase, at what point do you begin talking about long-term care options.

The best answer is sooner rather than later.

Assisted Living Mobile, AL: Long-Term Care

Assisted Living Mobile, AL: Long-Term Care

It’s not always the case. If you just talk to somebody before an accident happened, tried to slow them down or wake them up to what may occur, things could’ve been different, right?

A parent of a teenager isn’t going to simply hand the keys over to them once they get their driver’s license and say, “Have fun.” They’re going to talk about the challenges they’ll face in the coming weeks and months, the importance of not being distracted, keeping their phone off, not listening to the radio, and paying close attention to every other car on the road.

Why don’t we seem to do that for our loved ones who are getting older? When we sit down and talk about the struggles they will face over time? It’s not a matter of if, but when that a mishap or accident occurs.

Your mother or father, for example, might be in their early to mid 70s and seem completely healthy. They may still travel, get along great, go for walks in the park or around the block, and have no physical or mental issues at this moment.

Time changes.

Eventually, so long as they continue to grow older, they will face increasing health challenges. They will reach a point when simply getting out of bed is more difficult. They might reach a point when going to the bathroom or taking a shower becomes a more dangerous prospect.

Don’t wait until something bad happens.

Talk to them about elder care choices. Assisted living is one of them. It doesn’t mean they have to make this commitment now, but the more you talk about it early, the more information they’ll have at their disposal to make a good decision later, especially when they need it most.

Some aging parents and grandparents might be resentful about it. Most of the time that is driven by one of two things: a lack of understanding about what assisted living truly is and what it can offer and fear. A fear of losing control, losing independence.

When you frame the topic of assisted living that still empowers them, that puts the decision in their hands, they won’t be so afraid or frustrated. They won’t be so angry when the topic comes up.

Talk about it in terms of long-term options. Something down the road. If you recognize the need here and now, that’s certainly different, but you want to talk about it in terms of what may be required several months from now or years. As long as it’s not in the here and now, the immediate moment, for those who have difficulty accepting the changes they’re experiencing in life, they may be more willing and open to listen.

If you or an aging loved one are considering a move to an Assisted Living facility near Mobile, AL, contact Ashbury Manor Specialty Care and Assisted Living at 251-317-3017.

About Cindy Johnson

Ashbury Manor’s Administrator since 2008, Cindy Johnson is a long-time expert in the assisted living field. Prior to her arrival at Ashbury Manor, Cindy managed acquisitions and crisis management for existing and new larger senior care project developments for eleven years. As regional manager for an Oregon-based assisted living management company, Cindy was directly responsible for operations for five 50-65 bed assisted living facilities. As manager during the transition to new ownership, Cindy reorganized internal operations and conducted leadership training for Executive Directors. As a result of her management and expertise, one of the company’s facilities (in Ocala, Florida) received a deficiency-free survey, resulting in the lifting of a moratorium on operation.

A nurse for 36 years, senior care has always been Cindy’s passion. Desiring to work more closely with residents, Cindy became a Category II Administrator in 2005. As Ashbury Manor’s Administrator, Cindy understands the complexities associated with dementia and cognitive impairment and she has fallen in love with seniors with dementia or cognitive impairment and their families.

Cindy is Treasurer of the local “Senior Coalition” chapter. She enjoys mentoring new candidates who want to become administrators.

As a 16-bed facility, with Cindy's training and experience, our residents and their families can be sure Ashbury Manor’s carefully selected staff provides the expertise of a larger facility while maintaining the individualized personal care of a small special needs home.
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