It’s the rare senior who takes the initiative to tell his or her family “I think I need to move into Assisted Living.” Most people have their judgment clouded by fear of the unknown or a pride in not giving up a home where they’ve raised a family since departed. Anything new can be scary, especially such a big step, but Assisted Living is simply the next step rather than the last one.
Regency Vice President of Business Development Jeff Clay understands how seniors feel when their families bring them to visit senior communities.
“There’s usually some shopping around, comparisons made, to find the best place for mom or dad to live when they can no longer live alone,” he said. They may start their window shopping with pre-conceived notions that communities will be cold and sterile like nursing homes that provide skilled nursing care to bed-bound residents.
Many feel better after speaking with residents about their experiences and realizing that there’s plenty of fun activities besides watching TV and talking to someone occasionally like they do at home. And most everyone likes the prospect of having help with housekeeping, laundry and remembering when to take their medicines. Giving up the car can be difficult, but not so much when a senior realizes that Regency provides rides to the doctor and takes residents on trips to eat out or go shopping.
Moving to Assisted Living is a life transition. Like any transition, it is best done gradually rather than abruptly. Sometimes such a move is brought on by a dangerous event like an injury or lapse in memory. For grown children trying to find the best way to persuade mom or dad to move, the best approach is to have an honest and open conversation with all siblings present. Explain that you’re concerned for their health and happiness, wanting the best thing for them.
“You can explain that you’re noticing that cooking is too much trouble and housework is difficult for them,” Clay said. “Certainly, a parent can be in a far better situation if they’re afraid to be alone in their home or have very little interaction with the outside world beyond their television and the occasional visitor.”
If they resist or procrastinate on deciding, giving a choice between 2-3 communities and asking them to choose their favorite can ease the sting of the inevitable. A website such as this one can help to narrow things down, which is a great benefit to anyone with mobility troubles.
Clay said one way to make the transition easier is to suggest the senior keep their house and try out living at Regency Retirement Village of Birmingham for a month. He’s comfortable that once they make friends and take part in activities, going back to the solitude of living alone feels daunting.
For families, Regency offers the peace of mind that mom and dad are being well cared for and experiencing a higher quality of life than they can living alone. Freed from potential guilt, the senior enjoys far greater quality time with children and grandchildren, no longer feeling like a burden on family caregivers.
There’s no reason why moving to an Assisted Living community should be difficult. With these steps, families can possibly have an easier time convincing a reluctant senior to take that first big step in a new adventure. Like the high school senior preparing to move into a college dormitory, new friendships and happy memories await.
To learn more about Regency, call us at (205) 942-3355.