Many concerns arise as we age, many having to do with changes to our physical and mental abilities. At some point, there usually comes a time when the body and mind simply cannot keep up, and assistance is needed to fill in the gaps. This is where assisted care facilities can help aging seniors and their families. And the need is urgent and constantly growing.
According to current surveys and available data on the assisted living and nursing home industry compiled by Consumer Affairs, at least 810,000 people reside in assisted living facilities. Assisted living costs about of $4,300 per month. The population of adults older than 85 will double by 2036 and triple by the year 2049. Nearly seven out of every ten people will require assisted living care in their lifetime. It’s projected that the U.S. will need nearly 1 million new senior living units by 2040. These figures seem to be expected across the country with some placings being higher or lower but the overall average increase will likely mirror these estimates in most cases.
So, what can you do to help make the process easier and less stressful for you and your loved one when that time finally comes? How can you make the change less terrifying and more exciting for them? Where can you go for help on how to make this process as easy as possible for everyone involved? There are many ways to approach the idea of assisted living or senior care, but looking at the following key areas can help you and your aging loved one come to terms with what needs to happen.
Taking Care of Their Home
Many stressors that arise from a move onto an assisted care facility come from a fear of leaving behind a home that your loved one has known and loved for so long. Helping them prepare their home and being there throughout the process can make it easier for them. Explaining why they need board up services or helping them manage waste removal and clean up if necessary can make the idea easier for them to adjust to. Your senior family member likely feels a great deal of uncertainty, apprehension, and even fear about this sort of change. You can help dispel their home care worries by focusing on the following areas:
- Packing Things Up – Help them prepare things that they want to take with them or that they want to make sure are not lost during the transitionary period. Treating their home with respect can go a long way in keeping them receptive to your efforts.
- Securing the House- If the home will be empty for a time you can help them secure the house and take care of any issues that they are unable to. Handling the finer details like this can help your loved one feel less overwhelmed and stressed.
- Selling and Downsizing- If there needs to be talk about selling the home then it is a good idea to start the conversations sooner rather than later in the process. This can be a delicate subject and will take special care, but it is something not to overlook.
- Accepting the Change- It will take time and careful attention to your loved one’s needs but you can help them accept the change and look forward to their new life. The easier your loved one accepts the idea of moving the easier the rest of the process will be.
Taking Care of Their Property
The property will also need some care and attention ahead of the move into a senior care facility or home. Improving the overall security and appearance of the property is important to ensure it stays safe and protected while your loved one is away. Property that is run down and looks empty will be more susceptible to break-ins and if the home is left abandoned it can be more prone to fire, pests, and other issues. You can help your loved one through the process by being the one to make the important calls to the local house locksmith, security company, and landscape providers. These areas can be particularly essential:
- Cleaning Up The Yard- When your loved one moves out and is established in their new home, their property and yard will need to be cared for and maintained. They put a lot of effort into their home and life and you can reassure them that it won’t all be wasted.
- Updating Security- You can also help your loved one feel more at ease about their home once they are gone by checking in on the place and keeping up with security checks. Make sure the fences, gates, locks, doors, and other areas remain secured.
- Maintenance and Repairs- Damages and problems can still arise even once your loved one has moved out of their home. Family members can make sure any problems such as storm damage or other concerns are addressed and dealt with appropriately.
- Selling the Home Possibly- If the situation arises where the home may have to be sold, you will want to make sure to talk it over with the family. Your aging loved one likely feels a close connection to their home so they must be included in the discussion.
Taking Care of Their Belongings
During the actual process of moving into the assisted living facility, there will need to be a lot of work done to deal with the lifetime of possessions that have likely accumulated inside. Your loved one may have a hard time finding the mental and physical energy to go through everything and deal with all the belongings and stuff in their home. You can lend a helping hand by calling the local mover company and helping them find affordable insurance coverage for the belongings they are wanting to keep and store. Along these same lines, you can make the process easier for your family with these considerations in mind:
- Finding Storage Options- If your loved one wants to hang on to some of their belonging but can’t take it all with them to their new home, you will need to step in. Try to find a local storage facility that can help you with your storage needs and goals.
- Sorting Keep and Toss- It can be a difficult process but it might help your loved one to have them go through some personal belongings and choose some to get rid of. They can give them to other family members or donate them to a cause they care about.
- Moving Day Stress- When the day comes for their big move, you need to be there and be as supportive as possible and help them feel calm and safe during the entire move. This simple step can make a huge impact on how well they adjust to their new home.
- Adjusting to New Normal- Once they are settled into the care facility and are getting into a new routine, you need to be a source of grounding familiarity for them. When so much feels new and frightening, your presence and go a long way in helping them.
Taking Care of Their Health
One of the leading reasons why families have to make the choice to move an aging loved one into a nursing home or care facility is that they are not able to take care of themselves and the family cannot keep up with all their needs. These professional care teams can work with you to make sure your loved one’s health and medical needs are taken care of, with everything from how to treat hair loss to make sure family members have awareness of implicit bias and similar concerns. Additionally, the following points must be considered if you want to help your loved one adjust to a new way of life:
- Physical Health Concerns- An assisted living facility will work closely with you and other family members to make sure all personal health needs are dealt with. Medications, therapies, treatments, and other services will be central to daily care.
- Mental Health Concerns- You can also look for a care center that offers mental health services. Issues such as memory loss, Parkinson’s, dementia, and others are common and most care teams know how to assist patients with these conditions.
- Emotional Health Concerns- Your loved one might need some additional care and support to preserve their mental health as they age and adjust to life away from their home. You can support the care team and keep emotions high day in and day out.
- Personal Health Concerns – Your regular visits and maintaining a presence in your loved one’s life will go a long way in protecting their personal health. It will provide motivation and encouragement as well as support when they need it the most.
Taking Care of Their Future
There is a lot to think about and plan for even after your aging family member is settled into their home at a care facility. It often falls to the rest of the family to think about and plan things like end-of-life medical decisions, burial and headstone preferences, and other serious matters. It can help to work with a local probate attorney to make sure your loved one’s final wishes are carried out and that all legal matters are taken care of. As a family unit, everyone can help support an aging loved one in a care facility or home by keeping the focus on the following future matters that will impact them the most:
- Long-Term Care- Sometimes a loved one might need to be moved to a different care facility down the road if their medical needs or physical health changes. Taking steps now to prepare for that will make the process less stressful when the time comes.
- Medical Issues- Medical concerns can only be addressed to a certain extent with medications and doctors. Being involved and present as much as possible can help your loved one deal with whatever physical issues they may have going on.
- Day-to-Day Care- Involved family will waldo be there to check in with the nurses and care staff to make sure their loved one is doing well and there are no underlying concerns. You can make their lives easier by not taking a hands-off approach.
- Social Interactions- The final way you and your family can help a family member in a care facility or nursing home be happy and healthy is to keep them socializing. Whether with you or other visitors and guests social interactions are critical.
Improve a Loved One’s Acceptance to Assisted Living and Protect Their Future
As people age, they begin to slow down, become more feeble, less sharp mentally, and have more health issues to contend with. These can all get in the way of living a normal life and might mean changes have to be made sooner rather than later. Many concerns arise as we age, and eventually, the time will come when the body and mind simply cannot keep up. Senior adults often rely on their families to help take care of them when this happens, but even that is not always sufficient for the level of care some aging individuals require.
Additional assistance is needed to fill in the gaps and meet the more rigorous and specialized care that senior adults often need on a daily basis. This is where assisted care facilities can help aging seniors and their families. And as the becomes more urgent and demand continues to grow in the medical and senior adult care industry, it is more important than ever that families know what they can do to help their loved one. With these critical considerations in mind, you will be better prepared to go the extra mile for your loved one as they adjust to life in an assisted living facility.