Eventually it happens to all of us, we age. Sadly for some, the decision must be made to move to an assisted living center or a long term care center. This can be a very difficult process for many as they age. The fear of giving up their independence and freedom is a frightening prospect. When this happens, it’s often up to family members to try to convince them of the safety issues and other positive aspects of such a move. Here are a few ways to help them decide.
Offer them choices. Choices are very important to anyone especially to someone who feels that they are about to lose their freedom. Take them on a tour of several likely facilities (this may take a few days or weeks so that they don’t get each facility confused) and let them see what a typical day in the new home would be like. Perhaps it can be arranged for them to stay for a meal and meet a few residents and talk with them.
Allow them some time alone at their own residence to see how it feels without help. Make sure to have someone nearby should they require help but allow them to freedom to be on their own without help as much as possible. Chances are they will find that the loneliness is too overbearing and will want to move to an assisted living center for the sheer joy of having someone to talk to whenever they desire.
Find out what their insurance covers as far as outside services and help them to secure any help available to them. Whether it be live in care, a visiting nurse or care taker or even just meals on wheels sometimes these services will allow them to remain on their own a bit longer.
Continue visiting with elderly family members whenever possible. Remember one day it will be you that is living all alone and an elderly person. Be considerate and thoughtful about visiting them and being supportive of them.
Don’t simply cart things away that belong to them but rather tell them, “mom I’ve always loved this picture of you and dad, may I make a copy of it and return it to you?”. Then be sure you promptly return said picture. If they have a will and you want something specific speak up but don’t force them to dwell on death.
Never rush them to make a move unless there is a deadline or specific time constraint that absolutely cannot be ignored. This could be a health issue, death of a spouse, deadline to move out of a residence or an opening that may not last long at a coveted assisted living facility.
Once the family member has decided to move, help them to chose what to take and offer to assist them in boxing other things up or deciding what to give to whom. Be supportive and expect some tears as they leave their long time residence and embark on a new life. Continue reminding them of the positive nature of this move and encouraging them. Make sure to stop by once they’re moved and help them settle in and visit often.
Soon, they’ll be so settled in and busy that you won’t need to visit as often but they’ll still look forward to your visits. Treating them with respect and a positive attitude will go far in helping them to adjust to this new life style of theirs.