How Can I Help My Mom Manage Her Pre-Move Anxiety?

How Can I Help My Mom Manage Her Pre-Move Anxiety?

Dear Donna,

My mom is nervous about moving to an assisted living community. Even though the move was her idea, she has been avoiding preparations for the move. I am worried she is going to change her mind. How can I help my mom manage her pre-move anxiety?

Chelsea from Saline, MI

Understanding Pre-Move Anxiety

Dear Chelsea,

Moving requires a lot of work, so it’s understandable that many seniors become anxious. Not only can moving be physically demanding, but it can also be emotionally draining. Many homes contain years of memories and are full of sentimental treasures.

Just the thought of sorting through their belongings can prevent them getting started, even when they know they should. Here are a few tips to ease your loved one’s anxiety about moving.

4 Tips to Help Aging Parents Overcome Anxiety Before a Move

  1. Work slowly

Your loved one’s new living space is most likely going to be smaller than their current residence. This means they will need to downsize. Downsizing can be difficult for seniors, especially if they have lived in their home for a long time. They will be required to make a lot of decisions about what to bring, store, and discard.

It’s important to start early so your loved one has plenty of time to sort through their belongings. Feeling rushed might overwhelm them and cause them to put the process off indefinitely.

  1. Move before downsizing

Going through old photos and sentimental belongings can be particularly challenging for some seniors. Certain items can trigger memories that make them question their decision to move.

In cases like this, it may be helpful to move before downsizing so your loved one doesn’t have to watch. This can help lighten the emotional burden that often comes with a move. Just make sure they are okay with your plan and remember to be mindful about what you choose to discard.

  1. Create a plan

Planning is one of the best ways to ease a senior’s fears about moving. Not only can careful planning help you avoid chaos, but it can also give your loved one a sense of security.

If planning and organizing aren’t your strengths, consider hiring a senior move manager. Senior move managers are professionals who have a deep understanding of senior moves and the availability of resources in the community. They can help you with everything from creating a plan to setting up your loved one in their new home.

  1. Get involved in the community ahead of time

Participating in the community before the move can significantly reduce anxiety. Try taking your loved one to the community to meet the staff and the residents. Many senior living communities have activities scheduled throughout the day.

Trying an activity will give your loved one a chance to become familiar with the environment and connect with their future peers. This can help them feel more comfortable about the move, and they may even start to feel like part of the community.

Moving Is a Big Decision

Moving is a major life decision, so it’s important to be empathetic towards a senior loved one’s pre-move anxiety. Take time to let them know their feelings are valid and assure them you are there to help.

I hope this helps you relieve some of your mom’s pre-move anxiety.

Sincerely,

Donna

Heritage Supports the Transition to Assisted Living

Heritage Senior Communities, including our Linden Square Assisted Living location, offers support to seniors transitioning to assisted living. Our communities are comfortable and designed to help seniors feel right at home. Contact us for more information.

How to Choose a Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center for an Aging Parent

How to Choose a Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center for an Aging Parent

Dear Donna,

My dad recently had hip replacement surgery. His doctor recommended that he stay at a short-term rehab center before returning home.

How do we choose a skilled nursing and rehab center? We aren’t sure where and how to get our search started.

Jan from Holland, MI

Choosing a Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center

Dear Jan,

It’s not uncommon for seniors to require additional assistance after they are discharged from the hospital. Skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers can be very effective at helping seniors regain their strength and reduce their chances of returning to the hospital.

Choosing a skilled nursing and rehab center is an important decision. You want to pick a center that works diligently to rehab your loved one so they can return home as soon as possible. Knowing what to look for is the first step to ensuring that your loved one finds a center that meets their needs.

4 Things to Consider When Comparing Skilled Nursing and Rehab Centers

  1. View the state survey results.

One step caregivers can take to find a skilled nursing center is to view the state survey results. Caregivers can do this easily by visiting Nursing Home Compare. Nursing Home Compare is a government-run website that allows you to find and compare nursing homes certified by Medicare and Medicaid. It gives you a quick snapshot of the center’s overall rating. You can also see how they rated in specific areas including performance on health and safety inspections, staffing, and quality of resident care.

  1. Ask the rehab center for its success in outcomes.

You are looking for a short-term stay that focuses on rehab. The goal is for your loved one to be healthy enough to return home. Asking the center about its success in outcomes—specifically those with the same health condition or injury as your loved one—is a great way to gauge whether their center will be a good fit.

  1. Visit the therapy room and talk to therapists.

When comparing communities, it’s also a good idea to visit their therapy room. Talk to the physical therapists and find out what types of therapy they offer. Ask about the frequency and duration of their therapy sessions. Be sure to ask them to estimate how long it may take for your loved one to recover in their care.

  1. Consider the location.

Also consider location when comparing assisted living communities. Choose a community that is close to friends and family. Being nearby will make it easier for loved ones to visit and ensure your senior parent feels supported and connected.

Making Sure Your Loved One Is Taken Care Of

Finding a skilled nursing and rehab center requires a lot of research. Taking time to learn about your options and visit centers is a great step towards making sure your loved one receives the care they deserve.

I hope this helps you find a skilled nursing and rehab center for your father parent.

Regards,

Donna

Heritage Senior Communities

Many seniors struggle to regain the same level of health they had before their hospital visit. Assisted living can be an excellent option for those who want to reduce their risk of returning to the hospital.

Heritage Senior Communities, including our communities in Appledorn, is dedicated to helping seniors and their families find a living arrangement that meets their needs. Contact us today to schedule a private tour.

4 Fears That Keep Seniors from Moving to Assisted Living

4 Fears That Keep Seniors from Moving to Assisted Living

Dear Donna,

My mom has been falling a lot recently. Every time she has an accident, I tell her we need to start touring local assisted living communities. She says she knows, but she’s afraid. I am more afraid for her safety.

What fears keep seniors from moving to assisted living? I’m trying to better understand what might be holding her back.

Brenda from Saline, MI

Fears That Keep Seniors from Moving to Assisted Living

Dear Brenda,

Moving to an assisted living community is a major transition, so it’s understandable that your mom is afraid. Even when seniors think their quality of life would improve at a community, a variety of factors can prevent them from taking the next step.

Many times, an older adult’s hesitations center around fear. With a little understanding, family caregivers can reduce their loved one’s concerns and start touring assisted living communities.

4 Reasons Why Seniors Are Hesitant to Move

  1. Loss of privacy and independence

One of the most common reasons seniors fear assisted living is that they associate it with loss of privacy and independence. They assume they will be monitored and kept from doing many activities they love.

In reality, assisted living tends to have the opposite effect. Assisted living communities understand how important independence is for seniors. They often take extra steps to ensure residents feel in control of their lives. At the community, residents are free from many of the responsibilities they had living on their own. When chores like cooking and cleaning are taken care of, seniors have more time for leisure activities.

  1. Feeling forced to participate in activities

Another reason your loved one may be resistant to assisted living is thinking they will be forced to participate in every community activity. This is simply untrue.

Many communities offer a variety of activities tailored to different interests. Seniors can choose to participate only in the activities that interest them or avoid them altogether.

  1. Being forgotten

Many seniors worry that their loved ones will forget about them if they move to a community. The thought of loneliness can be frightening.

Moving to an assisted living community doesn’t mean you will lose touch with your friends and family. Most communities encourage friends and family members to visit. Also, assisted living can prevent isolation by surrounding seniors with people their age.

  1. Costs associated with moving

Price is another reason seniors may shy away from assisted living. In some cases, the cost of assisted living is less than other long-term care solutions.

There are a variety of resources available that may help with some expenses. Long-term care insurance, employee benefits programs, VA benefits, and Medicaid are resources worth exploring.

Understanding Fears about Assisted Living

Deciding to move to an assisted living community can be unnerving. It’s important to listen to your loved one and try to understand their hesitations. This will allow you to better help them get past their fears.

I hope this alleviates some of the fears your mom has about moving to assisted living.

Sincerely,

Donna

Heritage Helps Reduce Fears about Senior Living

Heritage Senior Communities, including our Linden Square Assisted Living Center, provides support to seniors and their families considering assisted living. Our team members can help reduce many of the fears associated with moving. Contact us today to learn more!

5 Legal Documents Every Caregiver Should Have

5 Legal Documents Every Caregiver Should Have

Dear Donna,

As my parents age, I am starting to think more about their future. I want to help them enjoy the best quality of life as they grow older. To do so, I know I will have to work with their attorney on planning.

What legal documents should I have as a caregiver so I can make decisions on my parents’ behalf?

Jessica in Holland, MI

Legal Documents for Caregivers

Dear Jessica,

It’s great that you are preparing for your parents’ future. Many families wait until a crisis occurs before sorting out their loved one’s preferences. Not only can this make the process more stressful, but it can also affect a family’s ability to properly care for their loved ones. By preparing legal documents in advance, you can help prevent your family from having to make important decisions during stressful times. Here are 5 legal documents family caregivers should have.

5 Legal Documents Every Caregiver Should Have

 

  1. Living will: A living will, also referred to as an advance health care directive, is a document that allows people to record their wishes for end-of-life care. This document will be helpful if your parents become incapacitated and can’t make decisions for themselves. Although Michigan state laws do not consider living wills legally binding, having these documents is a great way to ensure their end-of-life preferences are met.
  2. Durable power of attorney for finances: A power of attorney is a person authorized to manage a person’s finances if they become incapacitated. A power of attorney has access to bank accounts, properties, and other assets. This document is helpful if you need to help your mom or dad pay bills or make important decisions about their finances.
  3. Health care proxy: A health care proxy, also referred to as a durable power of attorney for health care, is a document that authorizes someone to make health care decisions on another’s behalf. This document goes into effect only if they are unable to make decisions for themselves. A health care proxy includes decisions regarding health care providers and medical treatments. Proxies can even refuse treatments.
  4. Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) orders: DNR orders inform medical providers not to perform CPR if a patient’s heart stops beating. In Michigan, DNR orders are only valid when the person is home or at an assisted living community. If your mom or dad doesn’t want to be revived, their wishes should be documented in a DNR order.
  5. HIPAA authorization form: A HIPAA authorization form is another document that can be extremely useful to caregivers. While HIPAA rules usually allow medical professionals to give information to caregivers, obstacles still arise. A HIPAA authorization can prevent unnecessary complications and provide you with access to your loved one’s medical information.

Preparing Legal Documents

Having legal documents prepared in advance is one of the best ways to ensure you meet your parents’ wishes. At Heritage, we always recommend you seek advice from an elder law attorney when creating legal documents. They can help you understand state laws, review your documents, and walk you through the process of verifying that they will hold up in court.

I hope this encourages you and your parents to start preparing legal documents!

Regards,

Donna

 

Heritage Senior Communities Offers Personalized Support

Heritage Senior Communities provides high quality care for seniors across Michigan. Appledorn Assisted Living community in Holland, for example, offers personalized support with daily meals, laundry, and housekeeping. Contact us today to schedule a tour.

3 Signs It’s Time to Move to Assisted Living

3 Signs It’s Time to Move to Assisted Living

Dear Donna,

My mom used to be very sociable. She loved people and was the life of the party.

After she turned eighty, however, she completely stopped going out. We can barely convince her to attend a family birthday party. I think she should move to assisted living where she can be around more people her own age.

How can I tell if it’s time for my mom to move to assisted living?

Sharon from Saline, MI

How to Tell When It’s Time for a Move to Assisted Living

Dear Sharon,

Many adult children struggle to know when their aging parents need assistance. Although isolation is one sign your mom or dad can benefit from assisted living, it’s not the only determinant. Here are a few other ways to tell if a senior loved one can benefit from moving to an assisted living community.

3 Signs It’s Time to Move to Assisted Living

  1. High risk for falling

Falling is a leading cause of injury among adults over 65 years old. Some seniors are so afraid of falling they avoid leaving the house altogether. While this might make them feel safer, they are usually increasing their risk of an accident.

By not leaving the house, they reduce their movement. This can prevent them from moving the muscles needed to sustain their physical health and balance. Not only does this increase their risk of falling, but it also reduces their ability to recover from a fall.

If your loved one is at risk for falling, they might benefit from moving to a community where they can have access to a medical professional.

  1. Medical conditions

Nearly 80% of seniors have at least one chronic medical condition; 68% have two or more conditions. Older adults with medical conditions typically have a harder time managing their health independently, so they often require assistance.

A few instances when your mom’s or dad’s medical condition can make them good candidates for assisted living include:

  • Recovery from illness or injury
  • Trouble managing medications
  • Increasing or worsening chronic health conditions

Assisted living can benefit seniors with medical conditions by having someone available to monitor their health and help them manage their medications.

  1. Trouble preparing nutritious foods

Difficulty eating a healthy diet is another sign that your loved one may benefit from assisted living. There are many age-related changes that can make it difficult for seniors to eat healthily. For example, reduced mobility can make it hard to cook and grocery shop. This can cause them to forgo fresh foods in exchange for foods that are full of preservatives.

A healthy diet is crucial for seniors to maintain their health and avoid malnutrition. Here are a few signs that your loved one may have trouble getting enough nutrition:

  • Expired foods in the fridge
  • More “convenient meals” like frozen dinners and canned goods than fresh foods in their kitchen
  • Noticeable weight loss or weight gain

Assisted living can help because they have team members who are dedicated to providing nutrient-dense meals for residents each day.

The Process Happens Gradually

Determining whether your loved ones are ready to move to an assisted living community takes time and careful consideration. I hope this helps!

Regards,

Donna

Heritage Senior Communities

If you are having trouble deciding if it’s time for your aging parents to move to an assisted living community, please feel free to contact us. Heritage Senior Communities, including our Linden Square Assisted Living Center, can help you determine if it’s a good fit.

5 Ways to Start the Conversation About Senior Living

5 Ways to Start the Conversation About Senior Living

Dear Donna,

Last year, my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. At first, our whole family chipped in to help, and we were able to work together as a team to provide care for him. Now, as things settle down and in to a routine, my siblings come around less and I’m mostly left to take care of my dad alone.

My mom tries to help, but she is overwhelmed, too. I’m afraid to talk to them about a senior living community. I don’t want to stress them out more. What should I do?

Sincerely,

Carrie from Saline, MI

How to Initiate a Conversation about Senior Living with a Loved One

Dear Carrie,

It sounds like you are doing a great job caring for your dad! But there are many senior care options for you and your family to consider. It sounds like, as you said, the right option might be helping your parents transition to a senior living community. Beginning that conversation can be difficult for both the adult child and their older loved one.

Here are 5 pointers to help you:

  1. Listen

A good way for you to start the conversation is actually to just listen. Ask your parents what they like about living in their home. Use these points to make the transition more positive, and redirect the notion that they are losing an aspect of their life. In addition, ask them about their opinions or knowledge of senior communities. By doing your own research first, you can immediately address any misconceptions they have.

  1. Use positive language

If you want to paint a positive picture, use positive language. Be sure to use the word “community” and never “home” or “facility.” Talk about the opportunities they’ll have and the many ways this community will make their lives easier and more fun!

  1. It’s not all sewing and bingo

There are so many activities in a senior living community. From social gatherings to special outings, your senior loved ones will have something to do any time they want. And surrounded by their peers, they’ll be making new friends and might even try something they never knew about before. Most seniors actually say they wish they’d made this transition sooner!

  1. Keep the door open

Seniors often feel stress about this transition and are fearful that they will lose their independence. Let your senior loved ones know they don’t have to decide today—it can be an ongoing discussion. Reassure them that they will have a say. But it’s also important to remember that diseases do progress, sometimes rapidly. The conversation you were having a couple months ago will likely change as your parents age. Even if they don’t like the sound of a senior living community at first, it doesn’t mean they didn’t hear the positives. Revisiting the conversation can be helpful.

  1. Test the waters

Finally, it never hurts to take a tour of a nearby community. This is your opportunity to talk to staff and residents and to take an in-depth look at the daily details of living in a senior community. You can also let your loved ones know about short-term stays so that they can give it a try without committing!

As a bonus, May is National Parkinson’s Month, so there may even be events especially for seniors like your father. Check out the events at a Heritage Senior Community near you, and contact them for more information.

Kind regards,

Donna