By Heather Coontz
Considering moving a parent or loved one into a senior living community can feel completely overwhelming. Safety and wellbeing are usually the initial concerns that drive this conversation. Sometimes remaining at home or with a family member just won’t work for the level of care needed to remain safe and healthy. While this can be a tough conversation, it is very important to have.
What to consider:
Safety – Will your home allow for the safety and mobility needs of your loved one? Senior Living communities are designed with the needs of seniors in mind. Our precautions can minimize falls and provide you with peace of mind. We are also set up in a way that naturally conserves the energy of seniors which makes life easier for them.
Medical needs – Have your parent’s medical needs become complex enough that you need help? It can be a relief to have nursing staff available 24/7 to help you address these needs, make sure medications are taken on time and that your loved one receives the nutritious meals they need to thrive. Plus, most medical visits can be handled here, so there is no need to transport your loved one for doctor’s visits and tests.
Care over the long term – How much care do they need now? How much are they likely to need in the future? When considering a community, it is best to consider your parent’s current needs but also their ability to handle expected future needs. Having a community that can handle increased care needs over time can be a great comfort.
Caregiver needs – How would being the primary caregiver for your parent change your life? Caregiver burnout is a real concern and it is best to be honest about your own limits at the beginning of this discussion. Being the primary caregiver for a loved one can be both physically and mentally exhausting. It is important to maintain your own health and emotional wellbeing. Many caregivers can feel a tremendous amount of stress, guilt and social isolation. It is important to balance your optimism with being realistic about the level of care your parent will need.
How to start the conversation:
Parents can often be resistant to change and hesitant to consider a senior living community. Approach the discussion as a way to offer options to make their life easier. It is often helpful to focus on how it can enhance their independence by having a caregiver available when needed but maintaining more of their privacy. Home and yard maintenance are no longer a worry, and meals and chores will be taken care of too. Plus, the social aspect of having peers to befriend and regular activities to participate in can be enticing.
Make sure to listen to their fears and acknowledge them. Feeling like they have been heard may make them more open to what you have to say. Visiting friends already thriving in a senior community is a great way to show them what to expect. Make sure to take tours of local facilities and try out the food and activities. This will help in finding a community that fits with the lifestyle they want to lead. Most of all, remember to be patient with your loved one as they weigh their options.
Independent Living is for active, healthy seniors who are looking for a community that provides a dedicated staff who plans activities which encourage social interaction with peers. You have the freedom to live life as you want while having convenient services readily available.
Assisted Living is for those who need assistance with day-to-day activities, such as grooming, dressing, cooking and laundry. Meals are provided three times a day and regular activities, tailored to meet the interests of residents, are held daily.
Nursing Care also offers assistance with day-to-day activities but also includes available round-the-clock nursing staff to meet the needs of those with chronic medical conditions.
Memory Care is available for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Extra care is provided to meet their specific needs, ensure their safety and provide the needed mental stimulation.
How St. Luke can help:
St. Luke offers a full range of senior care; our residents can transition from Independent Living to Assisted Living to Nursing Care with us. We can provide the peace of mind that comes with having nursing staff on site 24/7. We focus on persons-centered care, which means that we strive to meet the needs of the resident in a way that is most comfortable for them. Also, as a not-for-profit, faith-based community, we also work to meet not only their physical and social needs but their spiritual needs as well.
We can allow you to focus your attention on your loved one – we will manage their care. Being a loving and supportive family member can be your main priority again.
For more information about St. Luke Lutheran Community, see their website www.stllc.org.
Considering a Transition to Senior Living