Discussing age-related issues like health, housing, personal care and finances with your senior loved one may feel uncomfortable and unnatural. These are tough conversations, but you’re not alone.
A Place for Mom, North America’s largest senior referral service, has you covered. Our recently updated “Planning and Advice” website offers you expert advice and free articles, guides and resources to help you navigate these conversations with your parent about planning for the future.
Senior Living Planning and Advice
In addition to helpful articles, tools and videos, our Planning and Advice website also includes access to local experts, our Senior Living Advisors, who “guide you through the process of helping your loved one transition into senior living… from starting the conversation with your loved one to connecting to the right senior living arrangement.”
With over 400 Senior Living Advisors living across North America, you will not have to navigate this process alone and can access their expert advice, free of charge.
If you believe the time has come to discuss your parent’s transition to senior living, consider the following questions:
1. How Do You Begin the Process?
Having the conversation with your senior parent can be difficult, but with proper preparation, you can position yourself as an advocate for your loved one. You can use the following steps to prepare for this important conversation:
Step 1: Assemble your “team.” Involve other family members and decide who will be the main point of contact or decision maker. See our “Guide to Eldercare Planning and Family Meetings” for advice on how to prepare for and hold an effective family meeting.
Step 2: Do your homework. Learn about care types and visit a variety of communities in person to gain firsthand experience and observations.
Step 3: Have an open conversation. Appear caring and informed. Our “Tough Conversations” guide can help you navigate difficult conversations with your senior loved one.
Step 4: Be clear. Voice your concerns honestly and openly.
Step 5: Put a plan in place. End the conversation with a concrete plan to follow.
2. How Will You Find the Right Place?
The best way to evaluate potential communities is to visit in person – schedule a tour time, speak with educated staff and see what the community has to offer. If you wish, plan a second “pop-in visit” that is less formal and more relaxed. Consider these questions:
- Are the residents engaged and happy?
- Are the staff interacting with residents – do they look happy?
- Do the residents have positive things to say about the community?
- Is the food palatable?
- What does your gut say? Trust your intuition.
3. How Will You Pay for Care?
According to Senior Living Advisor Mary Lontkowski, the most common question among families is about how to finance senior living. Our Elder Care Costs Comparison explains the costs associated with different types of care, including in-home care, semi-private or private nursing home care and private assisted living care.
Popular options for financing include:
- Bridge loan
- Home equity
- Long-term care insurance
- Reverse mortgage
- Veteran’s Aid and Attendance
4. What Kind of Care Is Needed?
With so many care options available, finding the right fit can be overwhelming. First, determine whether your loved one can care for them self independently, or if they need assistance with daily living activities such as bathing and dressing. During your research, you will encounter the following styles of care:
- Alzheimer’s or Memory care
- Assisted living
- Independent or retirement living
- Nursing home care
- Residential care home
5. When Is the Right Time to Move?
Deciding on the best time for your loved one to move towards senior living can be tricky – according to Senior Living Advisor Shelly Lim, there is really no right or wrong time. Being cognizant of changes in abilities and monitoring risk factors is the best way to determine their fitness in remaining at home. Risk factors to watch for include:
- Do they have difficulty walking?
- Are they at risk for falls?
- Do they have trouble preparing food or taking medication?
- Do they appear isolated, depressed or bored?
If you notice one or more of these risk factors, the time may be right for you to have an open and honest conversation with your parent to discuss the benefits of a senior community and what it can offer them.
As you can see, supporting a senior loved one is often complex. A Place for Mom’s Planning and Advice website is designed to help you on your journey by providing expert advice and helpful articles, guides and resources.
Which senior living Planning and Advice resource was most helpful to you? What resource would you like to see next? We’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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