Finding The Best Senior Care Option For Mom And Dad

Finding The Best Senior Care Option For A Loved One

How to find the right solution while still keeping the peace.

You may have noticed your parents slowing down a little over the last months or years. Maybe they’re getting a little more forgetful. Maybe their current living situation isn’t working as well for them as it once did. Whether they recognize it or not, it may be time to start taking steps toward solutions that offer the help they need in ways that still allow them to retain as much independence as possible.

There are a number of these potential solutions in your area, but figuring out the difference between them and what each option means for your older parent or loved one isn’t always crystal clear. 

So, here’s a quick rundown of senior care living options, along with the general set of needs and limitations each solution covers. This list moves along the continuum between giving your parent the most independence possible (at the top) to providing the most intimate care.

Your loved one still maintains full control of their property and choices, but they get the small amount of help they need, when they need it.

At-Home Help

This option offers your parent or loved one the most amount of freedom and flexibility. They remain in their home and do most things themselves. At the same time, they also partner with a service that sends team members over to help with more difficult tasks like washing the windows, running errands, picking up groceries, or regular activities of daily life. Most of these services operate on an appointment schedule. Your parent still maintains full control of their property and choices, but they get the small amount of help they need when they need it.

In-Home Nursing Care

This option allows your parent to stay home while a trained companion attends to them. This option is good for situations where family members are able to provide a lot of the upkeep and maintenance on the property but need to outsource activities of daily living with your loved ones care to a professional. This option also has a number of intensity levels. Companions may stop regularly or may maintain one companion there at all times, operating in shifts. Your loved one is able to stay at home and still get the professional care they need.

Independent Living

Independent living gives your parents a great deal of control over their lives, but within a smaller, more easily managed environment where help is available 24/7 if and when the need arises. At Brethren Care Village, our independent living environments include both well-appointed apartments and condominium-style units. Residents move and live independently, but don’t have the responsibility of maintaining a much larger property. The “big chores”–mowing, landscaping, snow removal,etc.–are all taken care of. At the same time, if anything ever happens, professional medical and emergency staff are just moments away.

That level of familiarity, convenience, and connection goes a long way in easing your parent’s mind.

Assisted Living

Assisted living options generally combine the benefits of independent living with a little more hands-on help. Residents maintain their freedom but have all the help they need right on hand. Residents generally eat, do recreational activities, and spend time socializing with their fellow assisted living friends. This is a great option for parents with mild to moderate medical and/or mobility issues who still have a lot of life left to live.

Short-term Rehabilitation

If your parent recently experienced a serious medical event and needs a safe, convenient, and fully-staffed place to get back on their feet, short-term nursing care is a great option. Helpful, caring nurses and staff are on hand to help them recover and get back on their feet.

Long-term Rehabilitation

Similar to short-term nursing care, but for a longer period of time, this option is the right one if your parent can no longer take care of themselves. They get all the care they need in a loving, safe environment with attention from trained medical staff, so you can rest easy knowing that they are in good hands at all times.

Memory Care

Memory care is for people with moderate memory impairments. Conditions may include–but aren’t limited to–dementia and Alzheimer’s. Each memory care facility is structured differently, but at Brethren Care Village, our Bradford Houses offer both privacy and all the benefits of communal living. Trained staff work together with residents. Enriching their lives is a primary objective; schedules and activities are geared around this goal.

No matter what your parent or older loved one might need in terms of the next stage in their care, one thing to consider is continuity. 

Many senior care facilities offer one or more of these care services and environments. What sets Brethren Care Village apart, though, is the presence of all of them. You can choose Brethren Care Village to help your mom clean her windows twice a year and maintain that single relationship long after she’s ready for long-term nursing or memory care. That level of familiarity, convenience, and connection goes a long way in easing your parent’s mind and ensuring their comfort throughout the rest of their lives.

Top 5 Reasons Your Parents Resist Assisted Living

Top 5 reasons older adults resist a long term care setting

How to make the right decision at the right time.

No matter the reasons for beginning the process of looking for an assisted living solution for your parents–health concerns, a general decline in memory, a loss of motor skills, or any one of a hundred other things–they may be resistant to the change.

Which makes sense, of course. They’ve lived independently for the majority of their lives, whether alone or with a spouse. It’s not an easy thing to feel like you can no longer do what you once took for granted. 

Losing your independence is very, very hard.

But at some point, the reality of the situation will win out. And for many families, assisted living is a great option. Or, it may seem that way to everyone except the person it affects the most.

Here are a few things to think about when helping a parent or elderly loved one make the transition to assisted living.

At some point, the reality of the situation will win out.

1. Recognize their feelings

Moving from the family home into assisted or nursing care isn’t something most of us want to think about, let alone actually do. So, recognize these feelings in your loved ones. 

Independence, after all, is a basic need. And empathy goes a long way.

2. Cleary define their needs

What can your loved ones still do? What do they need help with? What resources are available to them? Is it a case of family members being able to pick up the slack here or there, or is the situation such that professional care needs to play a part in the solution? You’ll need to know all of this information in order to make a decision about–and then present your argument for–what steps need to happen next.

3. Approach the process systematically

Before presenting your older parent with the idea of helping them transition to their next living environment, focus on the end results. The solutions. Don’t come at them with just the problems or vague ideas about what might come next. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, you probably aren’t in a position where their feelings won’t at least come into play, so do your homework, search the web, ask around, and, in general, do a lot of legwork upfront before the idea is presented. 

You don’t have to have all the answers. But having an understanding of what’s involved will help you encourage and support future decisions.

4. Present options

No one wants to be forced into anything. 

Even if the option is perfect in every single way, it’s human nature to balk at the idea if you feel like there’s no other choice in the matter. Come up with a series of options and present them clearly. If at all possible, the final choice should be theirs.

5. Small steps

It’s often the case that even if things do happen and changes need to be made in your parent’s care structure, it doesn’t have to happen all at once. Maybe they can stay in their house for months or years longer with a little help from an in-home care companion. Or, maybe independent living within a smaller, safer environment is the right choice.

This step isn’t an argument for letting things drag on and postponing the inevitable. Instead, it’s all about recognizing the appropriate steps you can take throughout the transition from taking care of themselves and others to being taken care of by loving, skilled, compassionate professionals.

No matter what situation you and your parent might find yourselves in when it comes to their future, remember: empathy and kindness are key. Put yourself in their shoes. See things from their perspective. 

Then, when you find the right solution, the chances of everyone being happy with the outcome are far more likely.

Top 3 Senior Care Tour Tips

Top 3 Senior Care Tour Tips

How to tell which senior care facility is the best fit for your loved one’s needs.

Your parent or elderly loved one needs to be in an environment where they can receive another level of professional care than they’re getting now. But, as you do your research and begin touring assisted living or nursing care facilities in your community, you realize something very quickly.

Not all senior care facilities are created equal. But how do you know for sure which one is the best fit for your loved one’s needs?

The first thing to consider, of course, is whether the senior care facility meets all the requirements–location, financial/insurance considerations, level of care, etc.

But, if those boxes are checked, how do you begin the winnowing process from there?

Here are three tips to keep in mind as you tour senior care facilities.

Not all senior care facilities are created equal.

During your tour, observe the little things.

1. White Glove It

On old sitcoms, they’d pit an exceptionally fastidious person with one who might define their sense of style as something closer to “sloppy.” At some point in the narrative, the messier of the two is made to clean a room. Upon finishing, the neater member of the odd couple would walk around the room, don a white glove, and run a brilliant finger over an isolated stretch of mantle or along the bottom of the coffee table. They’re checking to see how thorough a job was done.

That’s an extreme example, but relevant. During your tour, while you shouldn’t go barging into places you don’t belong, observe the little things. Are things kept clean? Is the air generally fresh? Do they take care of the small things like cracks in the corners, spots on the plates, or the general tidiness of the nurse’s scrubs?  If they pay attention to the small things, then you’ll know they are also far more likely to do what’s necessary when taking care of your loved one.

2. Resident Faces

This seems simple enough, but it’s an important point: do the residents look happy? Do they look like they are well taken care of? Of course, it would be too much to ask if every resident was walking or wheeling around with a big smile on their face at all times. But, you can get a sense of things by observing the general demeanor and behavior of those who are already living in an environment where you’re considering placing your loved one. If they don’t look like they want to be there, that might be a clue you want to notice–and retain for the future.

3. Ask Around

No matter what the tour guide or c-level administrators of a senior care facility say, you’ll get a better sense of the place by pulling a nurse or staff aid aside and asking what life is like inside. A good question to ask is, would you put your grandma here? Most of the time, the answers you’ll get will be authentic and honest.

Taking a tour is a critical part of deciding on a senior care environment for your parent or loved one. And utilizing these three tips should give you a good start on making the final decision and ensuring they’re well-taken care of, both now and into the future.

Making The Move

Making The Move

What to consider when you’re preparing to transition into assisted living.

No one likes the idea of preparing to put their parents–or themselves–into an assisted living environment. But for many, it’s a reality.

The decision is hard. And the move itself isn’t any easier.

But here are a few things to consider when planning ahead to make sure the process moves as smoothly as possible.

It’s important to begin the research process as soon as possible.

Plan Ahead

Finding the right assisted living environment for yourself or your loved ones is a process. It takes time. There are a lot of things to consider when making the choice. 

That’s why it’s so important to begin the research process as soon as possible–even if it seems as if the moving date is months or years from now. Do your research online, begin taking tours, and be diligent about keeping communication lines open with your loved one to ensure they’re on board as you determine potential assisted living facilities.

Waiting Lists

Waiting lists are just a fact of life when it comes to assisted living facilities. 

It’s rare to find a spot miraculously open right when you need it. It’s important, then, to contact potential options and make sure you are on the list. If you’re interested in hearing about waitlist opportunities, please call (419) 289-1585.

Make the Transition as Comfortable as Possible

Once the move has been made and your parent or loved one is living in the new assisted living environment, make sure you’re visiting often. 

Getting acclimated to a brand new living environment is hard. Do what you can to ease the transition by visiting and offering encouragement to your loved one.

Ensure they’re surrounded by things that remind them of those who love them and bring comfort.

Home Sweet Home

To further make the transition easier, help make the apartment as homey as possible. 

Ensure they’re surrounded by things that remind them of those who love them and bring comfort. Examples include photos, blankets, small pieces of furniture, and more.

Encourage Social Events

Good assisted living facilities will have a robust social calendar. 

Encourage them to participate and make new friends. When seniors talk about what they love about their lives in assisted living, number one on every list is the friends they’ve met throughout their stay.

Keep it Positive

Maintaining positivity throughout the process makes a big difference. Your parent or loved one will adapt, eventually; and many folks in such a situation soon come to prefer their lives within an assisted living environment even more than the years spent struggling before the move. 

Be their rock and emphasize the positives as you walk with them closely through the early days, weeks, and even months of their new living situation.

This transition is going to be hard. There’s no way around it. But with a little planning before the move and positive attention to their needs both during the transition can ensure your parent or loved one is safe and happy in their new home.

How to Assist With Your Elderly Parents’ Finances

How to assist with your elderly parents' finances

Your guide to stepping in without stepping on their toes.

At some point in the future, your parents may no longer be able to handle their own finances. And even if they need help, it might be tough for them to ask. The key, then, is to take a sensitive approach to stepping in and helping them. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Sometimes, simply setting up automatic payments for recurring bills will be enough to get the finances on track.

Get Involved Now

Helping your parents with their financial concerns isn’t comfortable for anyone. But even if they don’t need it now, it’s never too early to get involved. Simply communicate your willingness to help and take a light touch as you begin the process of detailing what’s coming in, what’s going out, their financial responsibilities.

Small Steps

As opposed to crashing in with financial phasers turned up to 11, take it slow. If changes need to happen, assist them slowly, deliberately, step by step. Remember, it might be hard for your parents to let go of a responsibility they’ve had for decades, so–to full mix the metaphors into an unrecognizable stew— keep the bulls out of the China shop and the kid gloves on.

Account for It All

Your parents’ financials might not be as cut and dry as you’d like. That’s why it’s important to get as full a financial picture if possible. (Gently) bring in outside, professional help if necessary. Get a good grasp on both financial and legal situations.

Simplify and Take Over

Sometimes, simply setting up automatic payments for recurring bills will be enough to get the finances on track. Other times, it may take a lot more effort to get things squared away. But whatever it takes, do what you need to do to get your parents’ finances back under control.

If changes need to happen, make them slowly, deliberately, step by step.

In the Loop

Keep your parents informed. Keep the channels of communication clear. Whatever steps need to be taken, keep things documented and make sure they understand what’s going on.

Separate

This is important: keep your finances separate from your parents. Even if you completely absorb the responsibility for their finances, it’s a bad idea–on a lot of different levels–to merge their finances with yours.

Be on the Lookout

Fraud is a big threat to seniors. Throughout everything, be sure to look for signs that your loved ones are being targeted by fraudsters. Make note of any strange purchases or suspicious mail. 

The main takeaway here is that your parents might need help with their financials. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way toward setting them up for success as they move toward the later seasons of their life.

How to Tell if An Older Adult is Targeted With Fraud

How to tell if an older adult is targeted with fraud

Four ways to identify and prevent fraudulent schemes aimed at your parents.

There is a whole portion of humanity out there who prey on older adults. Fraud is a real concern with many older adults falling prey to criminal schemes each year. And it’s big business, with American seniors losing an average of $3 billion annually.

So, if you’re currently taking steps to help your parents out with their finances, one thing to keep an eye out for is evidence of fraud.

Unfortunately, fraud isn’t always simple to detect. But here are a few things you can do to protect your parents from being scammed.

A recent study shows that seniors most likely to be susceptible to fraud are those who feel lonely, left behind, or disconnected.

Know How They Feel

A recent study shows that seniors most likely to be susceptible to fraud are those who feel lonely, left behind, or disconnected. Keeping a close eye on how your parents are feeling is a good way to make sure they don’t fall into the trap of trusting someone they shouldn’t.

Awareness

Talk with your parents about the threat of fraud. If they know it’s a possibility, they’ll be more likely to approach potential threats with a healthier degree of skepticism.

A little bit of diligence can go a long way.

Bring in the Feds

The FBI keeps a running list of current fraud schemes currently happening out in the wider world. It’s a good idea to bookmark this link to common schemes and keep your parents in the loop. 

Stay Vigilant

Maybe you’re in full control of your parents’ finances. Or, maybe you’re just now offering your help. Either way, paying attention to what’s happening in their financial lives can go a long way.

Your parents probably spent a good section of their lives making sure you were safe–holding your hand as you crossed the street, keeping pinky fingers and toes out of electrical sockets, and advising you on who’s a stranger and who’s not. 

So, it seems only fair to turn the tables a bit and help them stay safe from the very real and very present dangers of fraud of all kinds.