3 Reasons To Consider Assisted Living And 3 Emotions That Come From It
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on May 3, 2016
The hardest conversation anyone has with their elderly parents is when the time comes to talk about assisted living of any kind. Unfortunately, for the majority of us it’s a conversation that we can’t ignore for a number of reasons.
It’s not only hard on our elders but on us as well. It helps to know the most crucial reasons one has to look at that determines why the conversation might have to take place, as well as knowing the emotions you’re going to feel while going through the whole process.
Reduced Mental Capacity/Memory Loss
All of us have some kind of memory loss as we get older. There’s just no way our brains can continue taking in new information while retaining everything else that’s taken place throughout our lives.
Other types of memory loss are a major source of concern. For instance, if your loved one keeps asking the same question over and over and not remembering what you’re saying, obsesses over something indiscriminately, or starts forgetting things like directions on how to get to places they’ve been going to for a long time or how to use things around the house that they’ve previously been familiar with, it’s time to take action.
Having them examined by a physician to see whether it’s true memory loss, something brought on by medication or even something physical should be the first step to make sure there isn’t an outside factor before addressing this issue.
Physically Unable To Take Care Of Themselves
People tend to start moving less as they get older. What happens is muscles can start to atrophy; maybe not totally, but they can reduce to the point where getting around the house, picking things up, getting out of chairs or up from the couch, opening bottles or even being physically able to leave the house become problematic. If they start to risk injury from falling or bumping into things, can’t feed themselves because they can no longer prepare food, or start having hygiene issues, it’s not safe to leave them at home alone anymore.
Falls are very problematic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at least 2.5 million are treated in emergency rooms for fall injuries while 250,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures. A significant percentage of seniors don’t handle anesthesia well, to the extent that some develop dementia symptoms and may never fully recover mentally from having surgery.
In today’s world, most people find their social circles centering around the people they work with. Once they retire, suddenly they find themselves spending more time alone or maybe only with a spouse. Not only does the lack of socialization become an issue, but at that point they’ll sometimes start making bad choices that could affect their personal or financial security.
Finding ways for them to be around others more often and knowing that someone will be around looking after them in a protective environment starts to make a lot of sense, especially if you’re unable to provide enough protection for them. Medical professionals who take care of seniors believe that social interaction is important for their overall well being. Assisted living communities offer all sorts of activities, games, and group meals where not only do seniors have the opportunity to engage with others but also get evaluated by medical personnel who are hired to keep an eye on everything going on.
Unless you never had any love for your older family members to begin with guilt is going to be the overriding feeling you’re going to have to deal with. The truth is that no matter your reasons, you’re going to look like the bad guy if your elders are reluctant to leave, no matter why.
If you’re dealing with the memory loss issue, you’re going to find them arguing with you from the standpoint of them knowing when they need help. That never works because their cognitive skills have already eroded too much. This is also an argument that you’ll probably end up having more than once, and you have to deal with their emotions in how they respond to you.
If you’re dealing with physical issues it can be a harder issue to discuss because now you’re talking to someone whose mental capabilities are still sharp. Their denial of being incapable of taking care of themselves, even with proof, will be hard to deal with.
Whenever we go through events like this it’s pretty common to think back on better days. It could be that you grew up in the same home. It could be many of the fun times you had with your parents. It’s possible that some of those older memories have come up while interacting with your family members.
Remembering the good times is common for everyone, but during times like this those feelings might feel a bit more intense. They can either bring depression or be uplifting; sometimes both. These memories can feel more powerful when you relate them to holidays or special occasions.
You have to constantly remind yourself that everything you’re doing it in the best interest of your loved one. It might be hard to believe during those times when you’re having the tough conversations but after you’ve stepped away from it for a little while it’s good to start putting your mind at ease.
Whether you live close or far away, realize that taking the first step towards the long term care of your parents had to be addressed and that you’re not the first one who’s ever had to do it. Almost everyone realizes this at some point, and it’s important to recognize that you’re not alone. You realize that you’ve done as much as you can on your own and are finally taking initiative in finding a better solution.
You need to look at all the good you’ve done, even if it felt bad while doing it, and realize that things will be better for everyone involved. Assisted living centers have people who know how to work with those with memory issues. They’re trained in monitoring people who need protection because of physical frailty. Each of these locations has some kind of security to protect their clients. And they’ll make sure your loved ones are fed, entertained, and if necessary given medical care.