Author: Lisa Becker
Published: Jan 20 2014
Since so many Americans are living longer than ever before, adult children of aging parents are often faced with caring for their parents long term. In some situations, we may have to make difficult decisions about their future. What is the best care we can give them? Are they safe living alone? Is it time for them to have assistance with daily tasks? Will our moms and dads be offended when we suggest that they may be able to benefit from the help of a nurse, or that it may be time to consider an assisted living environment?
As with any relationship at any stage of life, it is important to keep the lines of communication open between you and your parent, and talk honestly about your concerns for her wellbeing. Tell your mom that you love her very much and want her to have the best possible life, with the most appropriate care. If she is experiencing difficulty remembering things such as when to take her medicine, making decisions about daily life, or keeping track of her money, it may be time to talk about moving her into an assisted living environment.
Explain to her that she can still live somewhat independently, but that caring, professional people will be there to provide person-centered care when she needs help. Ask her how she feels about moving into this type of environment. Acknowledge her concerns and let her know you are there to advocate for her in getting the individual care that she needs. In "Embracing Person Centered Care" about assisted living in Georgia , blogger Kia Crawford states, "Person centered care means that care is individualized care. People are different and have different needs. There should not be an over generalization when considering the care of our elders."
One of the main reasons you may be considering moving your mother or father into a senior living environment is for her or his safety. Perhaps living in their own home, they are more exposed to things like online predators, opening the door to strangers, not eating right (or missing meals completely), and an inability to take medication at the right time and the right dosage. All of these things can mean serious dangers for your mother’s or father’s health and safety.
Senior citizens are one of the most vulnerable groups of people when it comes to online predators. If they are not careful, they can fall prey to financial scams, relationship scams and other serious issues. Online predators may ask your mom for her personal information, including credit card or bank account information, social security numbers, phone and personal identification, and home address. Your mom may believe the caller that her computer has been hacked and they are calling to fix the problem, when in fact it is they that are the hackers and she is about to become victim to an expensive and dangerous scam.
Again, when mom or dad sees someone who appears to be a repairman or a delivery person, she or he may open the door and let that person in. Seniors are more vulnerable to physical assault because they may not be physically as strong as they once were. Living in a caring, assisted environment with a complete security system will help prevent exposing your mom or dad to a scary situation.
When your parent is having trouble remembering, he or she may forget to eat meals or to take medication. He or she may even forget that she took medication and take it again, thus risking the chance of side effects or a life-threatening situation.
Even though it may be difficult to have that initial conversation with your mom, consider her safety and well-being. Begin talking to her about your concerns well in advance of moving her out of her home and into a new environment. Let her take part in choosing a facility if possible. Giving you both enough time to prepare for the move will make the transition easier on everyone.
Lisa Becker offers this information to those who may be struggling with the difficult transition between being the child and becoming the parent. She is hopeful that her own mother will choose assisted living in Georgia so that she will be close by and be able to be an active advocate, observer, and helper in this transitional phase of her mother's life.
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