If your parents have gotten older and are no longer able to do a lot of the things they did in the past, it is important to explore with them their care options and how to address their needs. Whether they need assistance with daily tasks or even need full-time care or assisted living, openly discussing what is important to them and helping them have the best quality of life is very beneficial. Even someone as close as a parent may have issues they have not told you about over the years, so here are a few questions to keep in mind when deciding which care options work best for your parents.
Can They Stay in Their Home?
Being at home is a huge comfort for many people, and some are even adamant that they would rather stay in their homes than reside in assisted living facilities or a nursing home. While those with more substantial medical issues might not have a choice, often just having someone in-home to help with tasks that elderly patients can no longer perform is a huge help.
Depending on the needs of your parent, in-home help can be as extensive as skilled nursing and medication assistance or just helping with more routine household tasks like showering and cleaning. Many elderly patients are able to qualify for at least some coverage for home health services through Medicare or Medicaid, enabling those with mobility or other medical issues to stay in their home for as long as possible. Often an elderly parent lives alone or with a spouse who is also less able-bodied than they used to be, and so even those without more extensive issues benefit from additional help with daily tasks like washing dishes, cooking or cleaning.
If your parent needs assistance and would like to stay in their home, hiring a home healthcare aide can help them with those daily tasks and provide skilled care. With the ability to customize the level of care provided, home healthcare is a compelling choice for a parent who can still be independent.
Are They Able to Move in With You?
If your parent can no longer manage to live by themselves but would prefer not to explore assisted living, moving in with you and your family can be a viable option. Many parents might feel reluctant to even suggest moving in with you, and fear relying on you for their needs might be a burden. But if you and your family understand the responsibility and effort involved, having a parent move in might be the best course of action.
It can be more comfortable for parents to live with their children instead of having strangers in their home or moving to an unfamiliar environment, and it can also help with the loneliness and lack of socialization many less mobile elderly people deal with. Your parent moving in with you also alleviates a lot of the worry of them falling or having a medical emergency and not being able to call for help.
As people live longer and healthcare and assisted living become less affordable, many children are now having to consider moving their parents in with them. Housing and caring for your elderly parent can cut down significantly on the cost of their care but is not always feasible. However, if you and your family feel it could work, providing your parent with a place to stay and people they love to take care of them is a huge blessing.
Is it Time to Look at Assisted Living?
If the issues your parent is facing require more assistance than you or a trained in-home professional can give, assisted living or other forms of inpatient, long-term care might be worth considering. While discussions involving pursuing assisted living might be difficult and uncomfortable, it is important for you and your parent to be honest about their needs.
Often, assisted living is a great choice, allowing your parent to live in a monitored environment surrounded by people their age and in similar circumstances. There are also different levels of assisted living based on the needs of your parent, from medical facilities to more independent living options. Many elderly people remember the types of nursing homes their parents or grandparents spent time in and as a result, are more hesitant to pursue long-term care. However, modern assisted living facilities are much different, offering seniors a community where they can socialize and engage in activities with others their age.
Utilizing assisted living can alleviate the burden of caring for and maintaining a home and offer the benefit of 24/7 access to care if a medical issue arises, as well as housekeeping and meal services. While assisted living can often be cost prohibitive, modern facilities offer elderly patients a place to relax and socialize while making sure all their needs are met.
If your parent is less capable of caring for themselves and their home than they used to be, there are a number of options to help maintain their quality of life. In-home help allows patients the ability to stay in their homes and in a place where they are most comfortable, while moving in with a child ensures they have someone they love and trust to rely on. Assisted living facilities also offer a lot of benefits for elderly people with more substantial health issues or those looking for a community of people in a similar stage in life. Open dialogue with your parent about their needs and preferences can go a long way in ensuring that whatever long-term care options they choose is the best for them and their family.
Wings of Hope specializes in hospice and palliative care, and we strive to provide hope and light to families in what is inevitably a dark time.
We are available 24/7 to provide the support and information you need when navigating end-of-life decisions. The decision to pursue hospice or palliative care is never an easy one, and we are here so you don’t have to walk through it alone.