Getting Loved Ones to Accept Assisted Living
By Jacqueline Marcell
elderly loved ones to move from the comfort of the home they've known
for many years into an assisted living situation can
be one of the toughest hurdles for families to accomplish. The best
way is to start the conversation sooner rather than later, while your
loved ones are still in good health. Getting them used to the idea
beforehand will make it easier when the time comes.
if you haven't already made plans for the transition? If it is time
your loved ones to alter their living situation, here's what you
in mind that your loved ones' safety is the most important thing.
If you know that they cannot remain in their home
don't let your emotions
override what you know needs to be done. Don't wait for a broken hip,
a car accident or a crisis call before you step in. Recognize that
when you were
a child, your parents would have done everything possible to keep you
Now, as hard as it is, you have to be the "parent," and you
have to make the best decisions for their safety.
a Multi-Level Facility
to consider the benefits of a multi-level facility, which allows
for additional services as your loved ones'
health declines. This prevents
turmoil of having to move a loved one to a new location as more services
are needed. Many seniors start out with their own private apartment,
through assisted living and eventually to skilled nursing and dementia
care, all within the same facility. They may be able to bathe and
take their own
medications now, but as they need help, it is a blessing to know
that services are available. Many times the friends they have made
which provides the comfort of familiar faces.
best way to check out a facility is to talk to numerous families
who already have a loved one living there. Drop in on the weekend
and ask if they are happy with the accommodations, food, service,
activities, cleanliness, reliability, personnel, etc. If they
had it to do again,
would they move their loved one there? What have they learned
from the experience?
What do they wish they had known when they were beginning the
ask the administrators if there are any liens or lawsuits filed against
the facility. If they will not give you a written
are no legal problems, keep looking.
children are often filled with guilt for moving their parents out
of their home. That is, until they see them flourishing
a new environment
and participating in activities that they haven't enjoyed
for years. Speak with
the activity director to make sure that there are numerous
activity options. Does the facility offer field trips,
gardening, cooking, exercising, etc.? Monitor the activities
to make sure they are
you have picked out the right place, ask the administrators for help
in convincing your loved ones to move. The staff
members are very
this problem and deal with it daily. Ask a social worker
to call your parents and develop a relationship over
she may also
be able to
drop by while you are there to talk to your parents
and invite them for a get-together.
Later, take your parents out to lunch, then casually
drive by the facility to say hello to that social worker who
visit them. Seeing
a familiar face is usually very helpful. Remember,
any kind of change can be
very scary for an elder. Take things slow, calm and
steady, making their safety your goal.
idea is to have the social worker ask for your parents' help with "fixing" something.
Could they, for example, go over to help out with
the Bingo event or singing classes? Tell your loved ones that they
are "needed" there
to help entertain others. Giving them a "job" to do can
ease the transition to moving there.
that everyone who has ever been lucky enough to have their parents
reach old age has experienced
once-competent parents decline. We all know it
is a part of life, but even with all
that has been
written, there are no words that can prepare
us for the sorrow. Reach out for help from family and friends,
a support group.
you can do it alone!
Jacqueline Marcell is a former television executive who after the experience
of caring for her aging parents became an author, publisher, radio
host, national speaker and advocate for eldercare awareness and reform.
She is the devoted daughter in her riveting bestseller, Elder
Rage, or Take My Father ... Please! How to Survive Caring For Aging
Parents (Impressive Press), a Book-of-the-Month Club selection,
being considered for a feature film. Jacqueline also hosts an Internet
radio program "Coping
With Caregiving," heard worldwide on www.wsradio.com/copingwithcaregiving
For more information see: www.ElderRage.com