Over 76 million baby boomers in the US are juggling multiple roles as they manage a full plate of domestic responsibilities and care for their aging parents. With an increasing number of Americans living beyond their 70s, more baby boomers are attending to their senior parents’ needs.
If you are a caregiver to your elderly parent, but are unable to offer the ideal care, you may feel frustrated. Your parent spent his/her life raising you and now he/she depends on you for everything. Therefore, the onus of caring for his/her emotional/physical health lies with you.
While you may want to keep your parent under your care, it is best to involve an expert sometimes so that he/she receives the best care and attention. Senior care facilities can enable this.
Here are five tips that will help you navigate the maze of senior care so that your aging parent enjoys a healthy, productive, and happy life.
1. Accept Your Limitations
As a responsible son/daughter, you want to offer your parent the best quality of life. You want him/her to live as close to you as possible; however, you need to be aware of and accept your own limits. Currently, you may be able to manage multiple responsibilities at a time, but you must understand that as you age, your ability to do so will diminish.
For instance, you may forget simple, yet pertinent tasks related to the well being of your senior loved one, like timely administration of medicines, regular doctor visits and/or physiotherapy sessions. Therefore, it is best to acknowledge your limitations, and look for an expert who can support you in this matter.
Do you feel stressed/frustrated about not having enough time to manage your aging parent’s needs? Have you neglected your own health in the recent years to attend to the needs of your senior loved one? If the answer to these questions is yes, don’t wait until you feel completely exhausted. When you find it tough to cope with the increasing needs of your loved one, don’t shy away from seeking professional help.
You must consider bringing about a change in your lifestyle and in that of your senior parent. This can be in the form of moving him/her into a senior care facility or hiring a round-the-clock care personnel. You can also ask your siblings, family, and friends to advise you in this matter. Bear in mind that you will be able to care for your senior parent in a better manner only if you are healthy.
2. Make a List of Your Requirements and Expectations from Senior Living
It can be pretty stressful for you, as a caregiver, to decide on a senior care option. You want to feel assured that your loved one is receiving high-quality care and ensure that his/her needs are being met on a regular basis. Therefore, list your preferences when looking for a senior care facility. Involve your parent and siblings when making this list.
You obviously want to engage a well-known senior living facility located close to you so that you can visit your parent regularly. The questions mentioned below will help you ponder over your expectations from the senior care facility.
- Is there any facility for senior-living near me?
- How big is the community?
- What are the personal and medical care facilities available there?
- Do they offer special care for patients with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease?
The answers to these questions will help you determine the right senior living facility for your parent. Selecting an assisted living facility for your loved one will require you to know his/her medical and emotional needs. Moreover, you also want to ensure that your parent is getting the required care for your mental satisfaction. Finding the perfect match may not be always possible; however, knowing your requirements will help you zero in on the best facility for your loved one.
3. Research Well
Once you are aware of your requirements, look for senior living communities in the locations you prefer. Use your list of requirements to narrow down your search and get in touch with people who have been through this process earlier. Call a few assisted living facilities and inquire about the services they offer. Visit their website and check who owns the community, the caregiver’s team strength, the infrastructure, the cost of their services, and their experience/reputation in this field. As you continue to research on these parameters, shortlist a few names. Visit these communities personally to make an informed decision.
4. Prepare for Your Visit to the Senior Living Facility
When you visit the shortlisted senior living facilities, be prepared to ask questions with respect to your expectations from them. When you take a tour of the area, make a note of the various services available, the food and nutrition, the hygiene, the quality of staff, the proximity to church or public parks, and so on.
Depending on your needs, inquire about the various care packages available and check for any additional fees for special services like physiotherapy, speech therapy, or round-the-clock nurse. You can also check the funding options they offer.
Talk to a few members living in the senior care centers and interact with the staff. If possible, take your parent along and share a meal with the community members to help him/her get a feel of the place. This will help ascertain that your aging parent will feel comfortable there. If you aren’t able to gather a good deal of information in one visit, plan multiple visits before taking the final call.
5. Check the Activities and Events Organized
You surely do not want your aging parent spending his/her days at the senior care facility in a rocking chair and watching television. Select a facility that organizes regular outdoor visits and/or activities that make your senior parent feel engaged.
Ask for the center’s activity calendar and inquire about excursions, prayer gatherings/church visits, and other social events. You must ensure that your senior parent has plenty of scope to build a social circle at the senior living facility as this will offer immense psychological support to him/her.
Moving a much-loved aging parent to a senior living community can be an extremely heart-rending experience. In such times, knowing that you have selected the right senior living facility, where your loved one will receive expert care, can be extremely comforting. Use this post as a guide to navigate the senior care maze.