Having the Conversation: Long-Term Care for Aging Parents

One of the biggest worries adult children have is the safety of their parents as they age. We often think of this as an either-or situation – either Mom and Dad need help and need to move into long-term care, or they don’t. The truth is the need for long-term care can happen quickly. Challenges presented by advancing age, a prolonged illness or chronic condition can go from manageable at home to needing professional, long-term support now.

If that time is now, finding the right environment to meet your parents’ needs while ensuring they have access to dedicated support, compassionate care and a safe lifestyle are crucial. In a time of crisis, however, how can this be made easier on all involved?

Knowledge and the Right Resources Can Make All the Difference

While we know that the best time to talk to your parents about senior care options ­– from short-term rehabilitation to long-term care – is now, it doesn’t always work out. When considering your options during a crisis, keep these points in mind to ensure you find the right support to meet your loved one’s needs now and as they change in the future.

Begin with a list.You know your parent better than anyone else. List out their preferences, their likes and dislikes, what you know they would prefer in future care and any other important pieces of information. Then, gather as much information as possible about the long-term care communities and services in the area. This list can serve as a guide to help lead you in the right direction of the right long-term care option for them. Think about:

  • How close your loved one would like to be and what the distance would mean for family members who need to travel.
  • If your aging parent puts value in activities and social opportunities.
  • What they can afford and how the price compares with their current lifestyle.
  • If they’d benefit from highly individualized care and support.

 Consider your parents’ needs. What are their main care needs at the current moment? How may they change in the future? Talk to your loved one’s doctor for a realistic idea of the services they may require as their needs increase beyond this moment. As you evaluate this, you may find their doctor has recommendations or can tell you some communities to add or cross off your list – especially when it comes to those who will not meet your loved one’s unique needs. Be sure to consider:

  • If the care is comprehensive and individualized, making sure your loved one’s care is tailored especially for them.
  • What forms of therapy your loved one may need – like physical, occupational, speech or therapeutic recreation – to help them regain or maintain their strength, balance and mobility.
  • Whether the community will feel like home to them while also being safe and secure.
  • What amenities and recreational activities they could enjoy all while having access to the compassionate support they need.

Narrow down your options. Take the list you have and narrow down the communities by evaluating which ones don’t offer the services and amenities you desire for your parent. They may also be able to help with this. If so, be sure to listen to their ideas, their concerns and more. Make sure each community you decide to consider:

  • Offers a caring, professional team that’s on site with 24-hour care. Bonus points if they have a Medical Director specializing in geriatrics, fully certified physicians, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants and dietary and nutrition specialists.
  • Can provide the range of support your loved one may need while giving you peace of mind of knowing they are in a warm, welcoming environment with access to everything they need.
  • Has a positive reputation among the community, residents and families.
  • Can support you throughout you and your parents’ journey through aging.

Have the conversation. During a crisis or time where you know the next step is additional care, it’s essential to approach the conversation in a positive way. Include everyone possible, bringing in siblings, so you’re all on the same page. Share the information you’ve found, list out your top choices and, if possible, make a plan to tour the community. If your parent or family members are having a hard time with the discussion, focus on the benefits:

  • They’ll have access to all the support they need.
  • Meals will no longer be something they need to worry about, as they offer meals daily tailored to their nutritional needs and tastes.
  • Activities will be planned, and there will be social opportunities, preventing isolation and lessening the likelihood of depression.
  • Caregivers will no longer need to focus on care and can focus on their relationship with their parents.
  • Families will have peace of mind knowing their loved one is safe and cared for.

Look to Saunders House for the Support You Need on Your Journey

We know this time isn’t easy – no matter whether you knew care was needed soon or it took you by surprise. Through every situation, Saunders House is here to support you and your aging parent with the resources, helping hand and care you need to make the best decision for your parent.

We encourage you to call us with any general questions you might have and to stay current on a variety of senior health and caregiver topics by viewing the latest articles on our website.

We’d Love To Hear Your Thoughts!

If you have comments or questions about our blog, “Having the Conversation: Long-Term Care for Aging Parents,” we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences with us in our comments section.

Discover Our Healthy Tradition of Care and Wellness

Located adjacent to Lankenau Medical Center, Saunders House – has a celebrated tradition of providing exceptional care and services to seniors and their families. It’s a tradition we’re proud to continue.

Today, Saunders House offers a range of services, including short-term rehabilitation, traditional nursing care, restorative care, memory care, respite care, for individuals with visual impairments – all in a setting that is warm, welcoming and nurturing.

For more information on Saunders House, our short-term rehabilitation program and other professional services, please call us today at 610.658.5100 or contact us online.

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 Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Saunders House for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.

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