Watching your parent get older can be a bittersweet thing. While spending more time with an aging parent can be a great way to help seniors adjust to their newest phase of life, it can also be emotionally taxing to have to help out with basic chores and tasks every day. That’s why it’s always wise to start planning for your senior’s future as early as possible. Enrolling your aging parent in an advanced care facility or hiring home care from Seniors Helping Seniors can be a great way to help seniors stay independent and engaged. Building that kind of community can also be great for senior health. However, when it comes to making a choice about the best kind of care, it can still be hard to figure out how to start the conversation. If you’re trying to prepare your senior for their next chapter, here are a few things to think about.
1. Go Slow
As with most important life decisions, patience is of the essence when trying to figure out your aging parent’s next phase of life. If you’re starting to get worried about your parent and are hoping to find a quick solution to the problem, you’ll be disappointed. Figuring out what’s right for your parent, whether it’s a long-term care facility or an in-home nurse coming in a few days a week, is not going to happen overnight. It’s going to take a lot of talking, bargaining, and most importantly, listening. You’ll have to talk with your parent about how they see themselves going into this next phase of life. You’ll also have to talk to the rest of your family to see what they’re thinking. You’ll have to figure out what you can afford, and you’ll also have to think about what you’re able to give. For instance, even if you want to bring your parent home to live with you, that doesn’t mean that you’re emotionally prepared for that or that it’s the right choice. At the start, you’ll have a million questions about what the right thing to do is. All you have to do is be patient, and trust that they’ll all get answered with time.
2. Ask Them What They Want
Before you start thinking about what’s practical or what you can afford for your parent, take some time to really listen to them. Ask them what they would want to do in a perfect world, and if they’re capable of having that conversation, make sure they know that you’re open to listening and continuing it for as long as it takes. If your parent is getting to a place where they’re not capable of making their own decisions, you’ll have to take the reigns and find a continuing care facility that’s right for their specific health needs. However, if you can have an honest talk with your parent, don’t hesitate to start the conversation. No one likes to feel ignored or unheard, and sitting down to actually hash out the practicalities of their next move will help make sure they don’t end up feeling hurt or left out.
3. Be Practical
When it comes to what’s actually available for your parent, practicality will help steer you toward the right choice. However, being practical doesn’t just mean taking money into account. It means figuring out the best way to suit everyone’s needs without stressing yourself out or overextending yourself. Again, if you’re thinking about taking your parent in to live with you, it could be a great solution to a lot of continuing problems. Your parent will have the independence they’re used to and will be surrounded by family at all times. However, this decision might not help seniors who need specific resources due to a medical condition, and it might not be the best option for adult children who aren’t ready to take on such a huge responsibility. When figuring out what to do next, try your best to separate what feels emotionally ‘right’ from what is the most viable long-term option.
4. Prioritize Health
As your parent gets older, health concerns are going to be at the forefront of most of your discussions about the future. It doesn’t have to be a specific ailment like diabetes or Alzheimer’s. As seniors get older, the possibility of small, everyday accidents like slips and falls or bad colds can lead to serious health complications. Before making a choice about your senior’s next phase of life, consider their health first and think about what decision will keep them the safest and the best looked-after.