When is it time to have the Talk?

Are the books once read and passed along to friends and family members just piling up collecting dust?

Is the refrigerator full of take-out containers or frozen meals in the freezer?

The car is parked in the driveway and there are fewer social visits with friends for coffee.

These all could be signs that a parent or senior in your life might be struggling with aging issues. Sometimes these issues or concerns might be subtle at first. You might notice other issues such as a report of an “almost fall,” medications not being taken or reoccurring infections. When family is not living close to older family members, it can take quite a while to determine that something is not right. Weekend trips or times over holidays may not be long enough to see how your parent is coping with normal day to day needs and home chores.

Pitching in, even when living out of state, can help them to age in place for so long. Even considering bringing in outside assistance or home care may help assist with meals, personal care, and coordination of personal or medical appointments. It is time to have the talk with your family member when emergencies continue, your parent is lonelier, losing weight and your concern and stress is also growing.

So, what is Assisted Living?

Communities that offer assisted living provide just that – assisting the residents with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, medication management while promoting personal well being and independence. Services can be wide ranging for residents. Residents will receive twenty-four-hour supervision. One should always confirm that over night staff are awake care givers. There are situations in which small home like settings may permit a staff member to sleep but be easily woken if called by the resident.

Residents will receive up to three meals per day as well as snacks. Many communities will also coordinate for special diet concerns and health restrictions. Ask if they have a dietician available to consult for certain reasons such as weight loss, or new medical diagnoses. Medication management is another important service provided to residents. This management of medications can include the coordination of physician orders, pharmacy delivery of prescriptions as well as the administration of personal medications and oversight.

Other services like laundry, housekeeping, and maintenance will all be provided by a community. Other services like transportation

Life enrichment or activity programming is very important. Recreational activity should be geared toward the resident population and adjusting to meet the interest and abilities of the Residents. Spiritual or chaplain services can be available within the community or served by volunteers. Wellness and exercise activities should be wide ranging and include such things as walking, yoga, and seated exercise to name just a few.

If a community is like Edenton Frederick there may be a more holistic approach where enhanced activities such as gardening, music, art, presentations, and lifelong learning programs are all offered.

The conversation

The most important part of your conversation with your older parent? Be informed but be sure to include them as much as possible in the decision-making process.

Be thinking about the following:

Have the conversation sooner than you think and preferably before a crisis occurs.

Look for the right opportunity to broach the subject. Maybe after a fall or medical scare.

Listen very carefully to your parent’s wishes and concerns.

Work with you parent. Unless they are cognitively impaired, the decision should be a collaboration. Be careful not to issue orders.

Take your time and tour communities of all sizes and shapes.

The sooner you start the conversation, the more time you will have to prepare. Just think a move will involve downsizing, possibly selling property, getting personal finances in order and possibly a wait list at the community of your choice.

There are lots of experienced staff at communities to help guide and assist. Edenton Frederick is one such place ready to help and provide information.

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