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Guest Post: Caregiver’s Guide to Assisted Living Options

By Lydia Chan

Alzheimer’s Caregiver | lydia@alzheimerscaregiver.net

Photo Credit: Unsplash

There are some conversations and decisions in life that are almost too much to handle. For family caregivers, deciding when to move a senior into assisted living and how to approach the topic definitely tops the list of stressful life transitions. However, moving to assisted living can be a necessary change for the well-being of family caregivers and the safety of aging family members. Thankfully, there are two simple ways you can ease the choice and transition of moving a senior loved one to assisted living.

Research Options for Assisted Living Communities

Thinking of a senior loved one moving to assisted living can be difficult for many families, but that may be because many caregivers confuse assisted living facilities with nursing homes. The key difference, which can help alleviate worries, is that most assisted living facilities are set up more like retirement communities, where seniors can still enjoy independence while receiving assistance for daily activities that can enhance their overall quality of life. Assisted living is for seniors who just need a little help with daily tasks, such as cooking or dressing, while nursing homes are for seniors who need more intensive personal/medical care.

To set your mind completely at ease and make talking to your loved one easier, use online search tools to get more information about the types of assisted living that are available in your area. With the cost of assisted living averaging $4,000 per month nationally, costs will also be a major concern, but they can be mitigated if your loved one has a long-term care (LTC) insurance policy. How much LTC insurance pays out will depend on the specific policy.

Picking the right community can relieve much of the anxiety, guilt, and worry around this major life transition for both you and your loved one. Maintaining a positive attitude and practicing self-care can be helpful, but don’t hesitate to reach out for additional support if needed.

Plan a Compassionate Conversation With Senior Relatives

Knowing when a loved one should move to assisted living can be tricky for family members. There are times when a sudden injury or illness requires immediate action, but more often, caregivers may need to assess their health and that of senior loved ones, in order to determine whether a move to assisted living will be more beneficial. For instance, if you are struggling to take care of your own physical and mental health, or if you are unable to keep your loved one safe at all times, then turning to assisted living may be the best option for you both.

It’s normal to experience a wide range of emotions when making such a big decision, but try to view this situation from a practical perspective. After all, seniors can still maintain their quality of life in assisted living, and many live better lives. Staff support and social connections can actually help seniors thrive in assisted living, especially when compared with the social isolation that can come with living alone.

While these facts may soothe your own worries, communicating them to your senior loved one can be quite different. Having a senior care conversation can be difficult for all involved, so try to be direct and compassionate as you talk with an aging loved one. If your loved one becomes angry and refuses senior care, the next steps can be even more stressful, but staying focused on the well-being of all involved can make tough decisions easier.

If you are providing care to a senior loved one, it’s very likely that you will need to think about assisted living or other senior care options at some point. Just keep in mind that assisted living is never an end to your senior family member’s quality of life. Instead, the help and services provided by assisted living facilities can be a new beginning for seniors who are struggling to care for themselves, as well as a new beginning for family caregivers who are also looking for relief.

If you need legal assistance regarding your senior loved one, get in touch with Whitney Mediation & Legal Counsel to set up an appointment today!

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