Elderly Parents Moving In - How to Discuss this Important issue
This topic might be one of the most difficult you will ever have with your elderly parents. The idea of suggesting that they can't take care of
themselves any longer, or the fact that you can't take care of them well enough on your own, brings with it a heavy burden of disappointment, guilt and oftentimes shame of perceived failure.
In some cases, adult caregivers feel as if they should have done more – somehow - someway, to prevent the need to move a parent into a care facility, but sometimes, medical or physical necessity and demand take the choice out of our hands.
When it comes to the overall safety and wellbeing of an elderly parent, we must all make that difficult decision someday, unless we've been fortunate enough to have our parents make it for us. Grappling with the idea, making a decision and discussing possible options with your parent requires a solid dose of strength, calmness and most of all, compassion and understanding.
When is the right time to move a parent into a care home facility? Are you making the right decision? Will Mom or Dad be okay there? Could you have done something differently? Every case is unique, but the decision to move a parent is one that has the ability to either bind families closer or tear them apart.
Some family members may want to place an elderly parent into a care facility while others may disagree. Worse, many caregivers face the unpleasant prospect of a beloved mother or father blaming you for the decision. Some family members discuss the options in secret while others plan family meetings where everyone has a say, even the parent in question.
Here are some important factors to take into consideration when determining whether or not it's time to move an aging parent:
The primary concern should be the mental and physical safety of your parent. Those suffering from dementia or physical limitations require special needs and care that you may not be able to offer.
Where does your parent live now? Is he or she isolated or does your parent have friends, family and support in his or her neighborhood?
Can elderly parents continue to afford living alone?
Can you provide (or continue to provide) the necessary physical and emotional care your parent needs?
So how do you broach the subject with your parent for the first time? Here are some pointers that might help break the ice.
Notice that the pointers to broach the topic of moving revolve around what your parent might prefer. Of course, there's more to it, including finances, location and options, but whenever possible, allow your parent to have some say in some part of the decision making process.
Many adult children think nothing of asking their parent to move closer as he or she grows older, or even of inviting an elderly parent to move in their home in order to help take care of them. However, such decisions should be made very carefully. Moving a parent into your home, or out of their (or your) home and into a care home facility brings with it many emotional and mental burdens that may be difficult to overcome.
In many cases, when elderly parents are actively involved in planning long term or nursing care home or special needs, he or she is more likely be happy, or at least satisfied, with the situation. Many elderly parents are very happy in their new homes away from home, while others are miserable because they feel as if they had no say in the matter. No matter what you decide, it's advisable to include the parent, whenever logical and possible, in this most difficult of decisions.
Of course, one must take the cognitive ability of the individual into consideration when broaching such a topic, and many parents may outright refuse to leave their home (or yours), but with gentle guidance, understanding and a heavy dose of patience, the transition might be made a little smoother when he or she is able to make at least some decisions regarding their own care.