While each family’s situation is unique, many people have the same concerns.
Here are a few of the questions I often hear from families who are just beginning this complex journey:
1. How do I know when it’s time to think about senior care?
If you have any doubts about a particular behavior or you see something that feels like a red flag, it’s a good time to reach out for professional help. Even seemingly small things such as urinary tract infections can cause confusion and memory issues. If your loved one is showing behavior or personality changes or if they seem to be covering up memory issues, then a visit to their physician is warranted. Other telling clues including staying in bed, not wanting to get dressed and evidence of recent falls like bruises or cuts.
2. How do I broach the topic of senior care with my loved one?
Having the conversation about senior care can be difficult for everyone involved.
Seniors are afraid of losing their independence; of being abandoned or feeling as if they are a non-functioning member of society. Many of them picture senior living as an institutional setting where they will end up spending all day in a wheelchair watching television.
This is not what assisted living or independent senior living is about. Once seniors and their families tour communities they are often delighted by the activities, dining and individual apartments. Today’s senior living communities allow residents to come and go as they please, drive their own cars (as long as they are licensed drivers) and live their own lives.
Many adult children become frustrated when their loved ones or parents refuse to accept help or don’t understand that they need help. They may think they are managing just fine without it. A lack of awareness of impairment is common in stroke survivors or people who are suffering from dementia. It can be challenging to reason with people who have some cognitive impairment or with people who are very negative or unwilling to compromise in any way.
3. How do I deal with the guilt?
If they have talked about senior living at all, many adult children have promised their parents that they will care for them or that they will never “put them away.” You may feel guilty when you realize you can no longer care for your parents because of their advanced dementia, physical disabilities or other circumstances. You may even feel like moving them to senior living means you are breaking your promise to them. But, ultimately, by bringing them to a place this equipped to handle their needs and by bringing them to a social space, you are ultimately providing them with exactly what they need- even if they don't know it yet.
4. What is senior living really like?
Senior living communities offer seniors that chance to stay active, to enjoy relationships and remain independent in a safe and stimulating environment. Renaissance provides restaurant-style dining so residents and their guests feel like they are going out to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are blown away by the quality of the food and the choices offered.
Every community’s goal is to have as active a community as possible. Renaissance includes a cafe, movie theater, parlors, and much more. There are also art classes, exercise classes, book clubs, and yoga classes offered to residents. Transportation is provided for trips to local attractions, events and restaurants.
The only way to know is to visit a senior living community. Chances are you’ll be surprised.
5. How long does it take someone to settle into senior living?
We find that within a month or so of moving to a community most seniors are having so much fun they don’t want to leave! Between the new friends, activities, fantastic staff, and great food, it makes it easy for them to adjust to their new fun surroundings!