When an aging parent is no longer safe living alone, adult children often experience a rollercoaster of emotions. Guilt, resentment, stress, fear, and doubt are just a few. It can be a difficult transition for both the senior and their family.
While most people say planning before a crisis occurs is essential, the majority of families don’t prepare. Adult children may find themselves struggling to juggle a parent’s sudden medical crisis with worries about where they will live after leaving the hospital. Families often become heated when everyone has a different idea about what is best.
An Emergency Plan for Changing Needs
If your senior loved one is resistant to planning for their future care, a less threatening approach may be to suggest creating an emergency plan together. Reinforce the idea that you may never have to use it, but it is better to be prepared.
An important part of planning ahead will be learning what types of senior care are available. There are great resources online that can help you understand the different types of care, including home care, assisted living care, and a nursing home. If you know your options before you need them, you will be more confident you are making an informed decision.
Coping with Difficult Emotions
As families investigate senior living options for a parent or other family elder, they often struggle with the idea that their loved one is getting older. It might be the first time an adult child has admitted to themselves that a parent is getting frail and needs help.
Accepting this change is a major life event for most of us. Psychiatrists use the term “anticipatory grief” to explain this feeling of loss. Adult children may begin to realize their role in a parent’s life has come full circle. They are now the decision maker and guardian of their parent’s best interests.
For family members who have been fulfilling the role of caregiver, this transition can cause guilt, fear, and worry. It isn’t easy to turn a loved one’s care over to someone else, especially when it requires them to leave their home.
Tips for a Smooth Transition
Try to remind yourself you’ve researched and made the most informed choice you can. Here are some suggestions to help you find your way:
- Make it look like home: Work with staff at the assisted living community to determine what furniture and belongings will fit in your parent’s new apartment before moving day. Having your loved one’s favorite things surrounding them will help them feel more at home.
- Move before selling: If possible, try to make the move to the assisted living community before the house goes up for sale. That will help avoid the stress of being forced to downsize, pack, and move in a hurry when the house sells. It will also prevent the senior from having to leave the house during often inconvenient realtor showings.
- Hire an expert: If the very idea of downsizing the senior’s home and packing up overwhelms you, consider hiring a senior move manager. These professionals are accustomed to working with families dealing with the details and emotions of this transition.
Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself or your family members. These will be emotional days for everyone. Accept that there will be tearful times and stressful days. You’ll need to be kind to and patient with one another.
Heritage Senior Communities Is Here to Help!
If your search for assisted living includes Michigan or Indiana, we hope you will consider Heritage Senior Communities. A family-owned business, we have been serving seniors for four generations. Call the Heritage community nearest you with any questions you have about assisted living!