Are you the caretaker of an aging parent or grandparent? Do you have concerns that they are no longer safe living alone in their own home? If so, you are not alone. These questions are on the hearts and minds of adult children/caretakers across the country. Keep reading for information on how to spot red flags and how to have the conversation when the time comes.
Physical and emotional issues to consider
As a caretaker, it is your job to assess physical and emotional conditions that may indicate your senior needs more help than you can provide. A worsening medical condition, such as extreme arthritis or Alzheimer’s disease, for example, may not be something you have the experience or time to stay ahead of, particularly if you have children of your own.
And as many seniors experience debilitating mobility issues, they may become less and less able to do things like take care of their home, socialize with friends and family, or tend to their everyday needs, such as hygiene and diet.
Money matters go hand-in-hand with physical and emotional deterioration. A senior living alone with dementia may, for instance, forget to pay bills or cash checks and hold onto money that never quite makes it to the bank.
Another, potentially more serious, issue is a matter of fraud. There is an alarming number of scams designed specifically to take advantage of the elderly. A senior may fall for the words of a con artist and then refuse to admit it to themselves because they do not want to be looked at as incapable. If you notice that your loved one is having trouble balancing the checkbook or the money you know they should have simply isn’t there, there may be a larger problem looming on the horizon.
Before you approach your parent or grandparent with the idea of moving to assisted or independent living, you should know that there are other options to consider, and it’s a good idea to have these in the back of your mind in case of pushback. HomeAdvisor explains that a few of these are home health aides and adult daycare. Either of these would allow the senior to stay at home, providing they can afford the level of services needed to keep them safe.
Having the “talk"
Now that you know what choices your senior has, you can start your conversation by discussing their options. Ease into it and introduce the idea early. It can help to talk about fears you have for yourself instead of for them. For example, explain to your loved one that you are concerned that you are not able to provide the care they need. This might help them do some soul-searching as to what, exactly, they really need.
If you find that they are receptive to the idea of a lifestyle change, talk about what that might look like. If you decide on assisted living, you can spend a few days touring different locations, where you can see for yourselves the kind of activities, events, and care your loved one may receive. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, take notes, and compare price points. Even if your loved one is concerned about money, you may be surprised to find how affordable assisted living is compared to paying a mortgage, keeping up with taxes, paying for utilities, and trying to cover the cost of home maintenance.
It won’t be easy, but you will know when the time is right. If you still need resources or information, the links below can help you put things into perspective.
Guest post by Lydia Chan