Some people, when they reach old age, need special assistance. Some of them may not be able to climb stairs anymore, drive or even eat by themselves. It is an uncomfortable and sad perspective, but it is better to make the needed preparations in due time, rather than ignore it and refuse to talk about it. This piece of advice stands true for parents and children alike.
There are many things we don’t want to think about, but just because we adopt this attitude it doesn’t mean that they will not happen. Adult children may have to deal with making new living arrangements for their elderly parents, who, in their turn should remain open to different options. Family dynamics are various and there are no recipes that will make things go well in each case – but avoiding the “big talk” and treating this issue as the elephant in the room will definitely do more harm than good.
So, where should you start?
The first step is arranging a direct family meeting, with your parents and siblings, because everyone should be involved. Avoid passive-aggressiveness and anything else that may lead to awkward conversations, and make sure to ask the others to do just the same. The discussions should be as objective as possible to ensure positive results, so get your thoughts together and write them down, just to be sure that you do not forget something important. Learn about your parents’ wishes and needs, determine what you can do for them and what your limits are. Discuss all the options and put the pros and the cons in balance.
There are many types of elderly care solutions, from nursing home, assisted living communities and retirement villages to day health care and in-home care – making the best choice will depend on everyone involved, the particularities of your parents’ condition and the available resources.
Important considerations regarding in-home care
In-home care is a very popular solution for seniors for many reasons.
- These services provide different levels of assistance for the elderly according to their needs and health status, while allowing them to live in their homes.
- They allow a lot of room for flexibility, offering your parent as much or as little help as they need.
- In-home care is more affordable than permanent care provided by a specialized facility
- Your parent can maintain contact with neighbors and friends and will have the peace of mind that they are in a familiar environment, they are not alone, and they are well looked after.
- If your parent has pets, they will not need to give up on them, as it happens in the case of nursing homes.
As advantageous as it may be, in-home care is not always viable, however. For instance, unless you hire a live-in caretaker for your parent, the senior will not have 24/7 support, and this may pose problems in some cases – for instance, if your relative needs assistance when going to the bathroom. Moreover, some age related conditions or illnesses may require constant surveillance in a medical facility, and thus in-home care may not even be an option. Therefore, opting for this assisted living option should be done after careful consideration of all aspects involved.