Everything You Need To Know About Transitioning Your Aging Parent Into Receiving Care
Table of Contents:
- Who We Are
- How To Assess Your Parent’s Needs
- How to Talk to Your Parent About Receiving Care
- Types of Care
- How to Identify a Quality Care Provider
- How to Pay for Senior Care
- Legal Resources
While caring for your aging parent can be a rewarding experience and a chance to say “thank you” in a meaningful way for the years they spent raising you, it can also be incredibly challenging.
Your life is busy – from your own children to your career and other duties, there isn’t always a lot of room left for additional caregiving. But trusting your loved ones to someone else’s care is challenging too. How will you know your parent is safe and happy? How can you be sure they’re in good hands?
This resource guide will help you hand the reins over to qualified caregivers and give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing the beloved seniors in your life are receiving the care they deserve.
Who We Are
What makes us qualified to write this guide? We’ve been where you are now. Seniors Helping Seniors was formed after two wonderful caregivers helped us enhance our aging father’s life. What made these caregivers unique was that they were mature caregivers, who bonded with him and had more in common. This allowed them to provide companionship and assistance with activities of daily living to our father, in a different way than we could.
That’s what makes Seniors Helping Seniors unique: Our caregivers are all compassionate, caring, and professional individuals, some seniors themselves. They understand where your parent’s have been and where they are now in a powerful way that is different from most caregivers, and the influence of that understanding is invaluable.
Although our focus is on providing high quality care that builds strong relationships, our mission is broader than that. Our goal is to provide seniors with the services that allow them to choose an independent lifestyle and to be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. It’s who we are. That’s why we’re making this guide: so you know not only what your options are, but how to make the best choice possible for your loved one, so they receive the care they’re entitled to, and you rest easy knowing they’re in good hands.
How to Assess Your Parent’s Needs
Before even beginning the task of finding someone you can wholeheartedly trust to provide the care your parents need, it’s important to understand exactly what type of care that is. There are many care providers out there offering a wide range of services, so it’s best to know exactly what you’re looking for to help you narrow the search.
To help determine what your parent’s needs are, you should, of course, talk to your parents about what type of care is needed. Assistance needed may be one of the following:
- medication reminders
- Nutrition, meal preparation and grocery shopping
- bathing, getting dressed, mobility and toileting
- cognitive supervision for parents with dementia and social interaction
- transportation, laundry and other household tasks
But you should also have this discussion with your parent’s doctors, other family members, and friends. You should seek outside perspectives as well as the perspectives of those who know you and your parent and your unique circumstances to get a robust understanding of what your parent’s truly need.
How to Talk to Your Parent About Receiving Care
It’s possible that when you try to speak to your parent about the type of care they think they need or would like to receive, they are resistant to the idea. It’s tough to recognize, let alone admit when you need help. It’s not uncommon for this to be a difficult conversation, so you should come prepared with some talking points, and a reserve of patience on hand.
Your talking points should focus on the benefits to your parent, not the benefits to you. And be careful to word things positively – don’t focus on the pain points that will be eliminated, but rather on the joys that will be gained.
You and your parent will likely have many conversations about the next steps in their caregiving routine. This will probably be a lengthy process. Be understanding. And if you’re dealing with what seems like a particularly resistant parent, keep in mind the average amount of time it takes a senior to make the decision to get assistance is approximately nine months. Be patient. Be persistent. And be confident you are doing what is best for your loved one.
Types of Care
After you’ve done your due diligence to ensure you know what checkboxes your care provider needs to mark (even if you’re still chipping away at your parent’s resistant exterior), it’s time to hone in on the type of care to look for. Here are a few of the common buckets senior care falls into:
In-Home Care/Age in Place
In-home care is often referred to as “Age in Place”, but what do these terms really mean? Well, does your parent need help with dressing, bathing, grooming, and moving around? What about things like light housekeeping and help with laundry, nutrition and meal preparation, and medication reminders? Does your parent need help getting out and about? Maybe they need help running errands, grocery shopping, or getting to doctor’s appointments. Maybe they just need someone to encourage them to get outside and enjoy the fresh air, go on fun outings, engage in recreational activities. These are common types of in-home or age in place care. But this type of care can also be something as simple as friendly and supportive conversation. Maybe your parents can get up and around the house pretty well, they just get lonely or may have memory issues, dementia or Alzheimer’s. Being a friend should be part of being a caregiver, and everyone needs companionship at home.
Adult Day Programs
Adult Day Programs are structured care programs provided in group settings. They’re a great way to get your parent out of the house during the workday, make sure they’re safe and have something fun and productive to do, and know they’ll be making friends while they’re at it. Your parent will be fed, given any necessary medication, have activities that are either focused on recreation or treatment, and provided with general personal care as well.
Independent living can be anything from an apartment-style community to a housing co-op. If this is the type of care your parent receives, they will live by themselves, but in an environment that lessens the burden of living in a standard house or apartment. They won’t have to worry about things like what to eat, doing laundry, etc. Many of the necessities will be part of the living experience, plus they’ll be surrounded by a community of other seniors and provided with fun activities.
Assisted Living or Memory Care
Assisted living provides all the amenities of independent living, but includes help with daily activities like bathing, dressing, mobility, and taking medication. Memory Care which is part of Assisted Living facilities are secure areas where your loved one received 24 x 7 supervision and focus on clients with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Skilled Nursing Facility
Skilled Nursing Facilities offer more medical care than assisted living, but they can vary greatly when it comes to the environment. With all the options available and the monumental impact of the choice on your parent’s life and your own, this is not a decision to be taken lightly. Keep your initial assessment of your parent’s needs in mind and whittle down the options from there.
How to Identify a Quality Care Provider
You’ve defined your parent’s needs and aligned them with a type of care. Now you just need to find the right provider. So, where do you start? Just like any other job you need to find the perfect candidate for, you start with interviews. Do some research into the providers offering the type of care your parent needs in your area, then set up a time to call or meet.
When discussing care options with the service provider ask questions about things like the personalization of the experience and the maturity of the caregiver. Will your parent have a caregiver they can relate to, or that has a unique skill set their care requires, or that will take the time to get to know them? Or will there be a constant rotation of caregivers and little time to form relationships? Will the caregiver be sensitive to the needs of an aging person and be able to provide common ground in daily interactions? Or will they be a college student looking for a paycheck and nothing more?
It’s also important to inquire about the provider’s policies regarding things like holiday coverage or any other concerns or expectations you may have. This is another instance where it’s good to come prepared with talking points. Make notes of things that are important to you and your parent throughout the process so you can be sure your parent will receive everything that matters once the decision is made.
Finally, you should ask about the provider’s accreditation, are they licensed, insured and bonded to ensure your parent is safe and secure in their care. and How to Pay for Senior Care
Different types of care have different costs associated. The ability to afford the type of care and provider selected should be weighed in your decision. You might need to change your budget, save up ahead of time, etc. Is there long term care insurance available or other grants or programs, such as the Alzheimer’s Association, Veteran’s Association, etc. Here are a few resources that can help:
In summary, once you know what your parent needs and the type of care that will meet those needs, have found a provider whose qualifications you feel confident in, and have secured the funds to pay for them, you’re ready. It’s time to enhance the freedom in both your parent’s life and yours by inviting the best provider possible into your family’s folds.
At Seniors Helping Seniors, we’re prepared to help with this transition by providing not only the care your parent needs, but support for your entire family throughout the journey. If you’re looking for in-home please contact us today for a free in-home assessment.