For many adults, putting a parent in assisted living is a difficult decision. After all, most of those who are reasonably healthy and independent are not likely to be agreeable to the idea of leaving their homes. In many instances, the situation would be much easier to resolve if the conversation is started long before the time comes for the transition. Aging parents are not as likely to be stunned by the idea of going into an assisted living facility if they have had the discussion before.
Denial can be just as detrimental to the child as it is to the parent. Guilty feelings often accompany the decision to put a parent into a nursing home or assisted care. As a result, they may wait until a crisis occurs to make the move. When that happens, the parent may be confused and the child unsure of how to go about finding and selecting the best facility for their parent’s care. When assisted living is a common topic between adult children and parents, it is a lot easier for both when the time comes to make the move.
Take a Tour
Finding the right facility is the most important factor in having a simple transition. According to HelpGuide.org, licensing requirements differ according to state. Find out what the requirements are in your state. You should also research the facilities available within your area and learn what each offers. Ask if they offer transportation to appointments, whether they have outside activities or on-site extended medical care. Once you have a basic idea of your best options, take your parent on a tour of the site with you if possible. One advantage of starting the process before a crisis occurs is being able to make them a part of the selection and decision-making process.
After the Move
The Society for Social Work and Research reported the results of a study on the impact of moving to an assisted living facility. The conclusion was that depression and lower satisfaction with life can occur if the person is socially isolated once moving to the facility. If you are concerned that moving your parent to a senior residence could result in these feelings, you can look for one that has on-site mental services or offers group counseling sessions to help new members deal with their feelings.
If your parent requires only minimal care and is still active, make sure you find a facility that is willing to accommodate their specific needs. In addition, they should have access to plenty of activities that will help keep them alert and active for as long as possible. Going to an ALF should never be a step down in capabilities. The idea is to provide the assistance that they need to perform tasks that have become more difficult or impossible for them to do. The best choice will result in their being able to do even more than they could when they were living alone.