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Senior Assisted Living Blog



Strategies for Moving a Parent to Assisted Living

Joseph Coupal - Friday, October 11, 2019
Spring Arbor, NC, VA

Moving a parent, even a willing one, into assisted living, or senior living facility, is fraught with emotion. Your parents may mourn the loss of their younger years, their independence, the home they built. They could be scared about aging, making new friends, finding their way in a new place.

You may be mourning all of those things too. You may second-guess your decision. And you will feel guilt. Guilt is inevitable. Know that all of these feelings are normal and keep these 12 strategies in mind as you make the transition:

  1. Give it time. Senior living experts say it typically takes between three and six months for someone to adjust to assisted living. That’s an average. It might be quicker; it may take longer. Stay focused on the reasons you made the decision (safety, health, security, sanity). Keeping the big picture in mind will help you through the rough patches.
  2. Visit often, or not for two weeks. Only you know your parent, so only you can decide how best to assist them through the early weeks of the move. Many experts will tell you to visit as often as possible. Frequent visits can ease any stress your parent may have that they will be abandoned or lonely. It might be easier for them to meet people at activities or in the dining room if they have a companion with them. But if your parent is calling you several times a day, staying in their room, and waiting for you to show up and keep them company, you may need to give them some space in order to encourage them to branch out.
  3. It takes a village. Mobilize yours. Call relatives and ask them to visit. Just as parenting takes a village, so does being an adult child.
  4. Expect setbacks. Just when you think you are over the hump and your parent is settling in, things will change. They will tell you they are lonely. They will decide they don’t like their new dining hall friends. They will ask to go home. These moments are heart wrenching but knowing that they are normal and that they will pass, can help get you through them.
  5. Allow yourself to feel discomfort. Speaking of home, know that when your parent says they want to go home, they may not necessarily mean their last address. It’s incredibly difficult to hear your parent say they want to go home. But know this: they may not be referring to their last address – especially if they have dementia; they may be referring to a childhood home. Home is both a place and a feeling. Sit with them in the discomfort of that statement and talk to them about what they miss. You can’t promise to change their situation, but you can hear them as they express their feelings. And that will help.
  6. Acknowledge the difficult parts. Yes you want to paint the new move in a positive light, but don’t talk at your parents about all the wonderful new activities and people and opportunities. Listen to their fears and concerns and acknowledge them. Then help them get through it. They will be more likely to listen to what you have to say if they feel like you’ve listened to what they had to say.
  7. Surround your parent with their personal belongings. Moving to assisted living usually means downsizing. The dining room furniture may not fit in the new apartment. But what does fit are photographs of family and friends, photo albums, favorite books, a familiar piece of artwork. If you need to downsize the bedroom set, you can still bring a familiar blanket and pillows. Leaving a home shouldn’t mean leaving behind the comforts of that home.
  8. Limit new things. Moving into an assisted living facility is a major adjustment where everything is new – the people, the food, the routines. Don’t overwhelm your parents with a new phone or remote control for the television, or a fancy new coffee maker. Limit the amount of new things they need to learn.
  9. Be your parent’s advocate. No place is perfect. You and your parents may see opportunities to improve something at their new home but your parent may hesitate to speak up when they move to a new place. Do it for them.
  10. Build a team. The staff at assisted living can and should be a part of your team. Talk to them about your concerns and your parent’s concerns and actively enroll them in helping with the transition. Don’t assume they will notice what needs to happen – they are very busy. If your parent tells you they are too shy to go to the dining hall for dinner, or they forget when activities are happening, ask if a staff member can knock on their door and invite them. If the staff members know what you need, they should be willing to help out.
  11. Set your boundaries. Yes, you want to ease your parent’s transition. But you have needs too. Try to free up as much times as you can in the first few months after the move to help, but know that it is okay if you are not always available. You need to take care of yourself. Determine what you are able and willing to do and then stick to your boundaries. Other people will tell you what you should do. Ignore them. You are the judge – no one else.
  12. Kids know best. The experts may tell you to stay away or visit often. They may tell you to dismiss complaints as normal. But you know your parent best. Trust your instincts.

For more information, contact Spring Arbor.

#HOWYOULIVE
workingdaughter.com


Alzheimer's Disease: Manage Care for Yourself or a Loved One, Part V

Joseph Coupal - Monday, October 07, 2019
Spring Arbor, SC, NC, VA, TN

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting more than five million Americans. In the next several blogs, you can find out more about Alzheimer’s and how you can manage care for yourself or a loved one. This post will address Caring for Someone Else.

Caring for Someone Else

In most cases, the primary caregiver of someone with Alzheimer's disease will be a loved one, a spouse, adult child, or close companion. Even in the early stages of the disease, caregiving is an extremely demanding, 24-hour-a-day task. Caregivers need to be flexible and understanding in dealing with changes in their loved one's behavior and personality. They must also be able to communicate with family, friends and professionals about his or her condition.

Spouses who are caregivers are likely to be strongly affected by a diagnosis of Alzheimer's, as they process the profound changes their future holds:

  • Spouses often have their own health problems.
  • Husbands and wives often must reverse roles and take on unfamiliar tasks.
  • Depending on a couple's relationship, Alzheimer's can bring them closer together or it can alienate them.
  • Spouses must accept that the person they have known and loved may change dramatically in personality and behavior, and there will almost without a doubt come a time when their loved one does not recognize them.

Adult children who are caregivers also need to adjust to the role reversal in caring for their parent. They may feel overwhelmed by the other responsibilities in their lives such as working within or outside the home and caring for their children.

As distressing as an Alzheimer's diagnosis can be, this is the time to begin to accept the future, build a support network, gather information to help alleviate fears and plan for the road ahead. Family members who do not live nearby should support the main caregiver and try to help with tasks that they can do where they are.

For more information, contact Spring Arbor.

#HOWYOULIVE

brightfocus.org


Alzheimer's Disease: Manage Care for Yourself or a Loved One, Part IV

Joseph Coupal - Friday, October 04, 2019
Spring Arbor - VA, NC, TN, SC

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting more than five million Americans. In the next several blogs, you can find out more about Alzheimer’s and how you can manage care for yourself or a loved one. This post will address Living With Your Disease.

Living with Your Disease, Life after Diagnosis

If you or a loved one has received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, you may be feeling overwhelmed. You and your family will need time for the diagnosis to sink in and to prepare emotionally, financially, and practically for this progressive and terminal disease.

This is a difficult time, but it’s helpful to know about the condition once a formal diagnosis has been made. Many people with Alzheimer’s feel a sense of relief when the news or understanding of their condition is finally out in the open.

You and your family may be better able to prepare yourselves and live much more fully after accepting the terminal nature of the disease. There will be time ahead to continue enjoying life and pleasurable activities, even if it’s in a different way, and to make important plans and decisions with loved ones.

Gathering more information can help relieve your anxiety and stress. Learning, knowing what to expect, and sharing thoughts and information with loved ones, others who have the disease, and professionals can help you feel more in control and better able to take advantage of current treatments and assistance.

After adjusting to the new diagnosis and preparing for the future, you can focus on living and coping with the disease.

In the next post, find out more about caring for someone else. For more information, contact Spring Arbor.

#HOWYOULIVE
brightfocus.org