The Holidays and Your Aging Parents

Dec 07 2015

The Holidays and Your Aging Parents

With winter’s harsh winds and dangerous roads, your parents aren’t getting around as well as they used to and it’s difficult for you to be a caregiver as often or as quickly as necessary. This is a good time to watch for signs that your parents may be ready for the move to an assisted living facility.

While you’re under the same roof this holiday, be aware of wellness resources  to help determine your elders’ needed level of support. Watch their well-being: Are they eating? Sleeping? Able to get around without assistance? How do they interact? Are they remembering meds?

Having everyone united is also a good time to coordinate roles with siblings and set the stage before a crisis. You won’t find order in tragedy. Because there has to be a family discussion, make it non-threatening. Your parents are allowed to be hesitant, but you can all be brought together by the intimacy of planning. Begin asking about wills and insurance cards while they can remember details.

The thoughtfulness and empathy surrounding the Yule tide can bridge the conversation of a potential senior living community. Be warm. Be sensitive. Ask how you can help their current situation – fixing up the house involves more than decoration. Offer to shovel snow. Help to empower your parents in their own care (if possible) by informing them of vans and discounted senior taxi services; or apps such as MedCoach for pill reminders and iBP for blood pressure tracking.

Typically, aging adults and persons with disabilities are fearful of burdening or scaring their children. They’re experiencing a heartbreaking fracture in your relationship. To avoid confrontation in your home for the holidays, help your parents to be more eager to hear options for assisted living than you are to list them. Emphasize their rights and your concern.

Remember tis the season for compassion. You’re trying to create the picture of an opportunity, but putting their daily functions under supervision can seem like taking away freedoms. You want to inspire dignity and independence, but reversing your caregiver roles can invoke feelings that they are a failure or being forgotten. A face-to-face exchange in a tender atmosphere can show that you want them to be informed to make their best decision.

You don’t have to be guilt-ridden. No matter what promise was made in the past, assisted living decisions are based on circumstances of the present and future. By providing a partnership, you acknowledge your parent as a person, not paperwork. They can see assisted living is actually a loving choice, and one you can both take pride in. It might be the best gift you can give them.

For senior care referral and expertise, email exdir@INAssistedLiving.org or call 317-733-2390 for the Indiana Assisted Living Association (INALA), a recognized source of assisted living information and advocacy.