There is no question that the older you get, the more you realize how it affects your life. Maybe you take pride in remaining as independent as possible, or maybe you take pride in the fact that your parents are getting up there in age but they still remain independent. However, it’s only a matter of time before their age will get the better of them. When that time comes, there will need to be some serious and difficult discussions regarding long-term care options.
Unfortunately, once a senior citizen experiences an overall decline in their physical and mental awareness, it’s only a matter of time before there are some drastic changes in their day-to-day life and their emotional well-being. If a parent is going through these changes, it is up to us to understand how this could affect them. However, if we do our homework and understand the options that our elders might have, the much easier this transition will be. There are several essential things we need to keep in mind regarding this transition. Consider the following:
Things You Need to Keep in Mind
Ultimately, all of us have a strong desire for our loved ones to be at peace and have solid emotional stability as they age. We need to know that the best type of elder care will encompass our loved one’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
Activities of Daily Living (also called ADL’s)
Just like everybody else, our elderly parents are going to have some basic requirements that will need to be fulfilled in order to help them continue to have a satisfying life. They will need to keep their dignity intact by keeping some of the following basic activities in mind:
- The ability to feed themselves
- Functioning mobility (i.e. the ability to do such things as getting into and out of a chair, bathtub, or a bed)
- Putting on their clothes
- Bathing, showering, or other personal hygiene needs
- Brushing or styling hair, shaving, and grooming
- Toilet skills (such as knowing when to go, understanding proper clean-up, and leaving the toilet)
Of course, this all begs the question: “What if they have impaired mobility?” In that case, you and their caseworker are going to have to work to assist them in finding the appropriate help. They may need qualified caregiving, or they might only need the appropriate equipment. Either way, there are many options available for them in these areas.
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL)
Of course, there are other daily activities that are important even if they aren’t considered to be fundamental. These are termed “instrumental” and they are still related to functioning in an independent fashion. Consider the following examples:
- Cooking and meal preparation
- Cleaning and basic home maintenance
- Shopping for and buying basic items
- Doing errands
- Basic money management and keeping bills paid
- Communication through the phone or other electronic devices
Keeping track of prescription needs
If you want your elderly parents to have the best well-being possible, it is crucial to make sure these IADLs are taken care of. Never forget that there is assistance available if your parents are encountering obstacles in any of these areas. Also, please be aware that there are a number of people who would be willing to help out. These would not only include professional caregivers, but also friends, relatives, children, or even siblings of your parent. And don’t forget about the benefits of various technological devices or community services while you’re at it too. It all boils down to taking an honest look at where your parent needs assistance and then determining what resources you have at your disposal to help them.
Where do your parents live? Looking at this situation is also a critical step in maintaining solid well-being for them. This means asking yourself several questions: does your parent live alone? Do you live close to other friends or relatives? What living preferences do they have? Would they rather continue to live on their own or would they be open to alternative living arrangements? This is an important conversation to have with your parents. The following are some options that you and your parents can discuss:
Staying at Home
Many senior citizens prefer to live independently and age within their own homes. This is actually the preference of most-if-not all-senior citizens. Thus, you will probably have to make some adjustments to their home to get it ready for their unique needs. First of all, you should consider getting some home care assistance from a home health professional. You also could enlist a responsible family member to help as well.
Independent Living Apartments
This living arrangement is most suitable for active, independent seniors. This arrangement usually offers many different amenities, such as yard work, security, housekeeping, and at times even various clubs. Normally, there is no medically support provided in these communities.
Assisted Living Apartments
This is for seniors that are still active for the most part. They might need some help with certain daily activities. They will need a living arrangement where possible issues such as transportation, meals, dressing, bathing, and medication are considered. These living arrangements will usually be such things as rooms or apartment rentals. Amenities such as social activities, laundry, exercise, and housekeeping will usually be provided.
This is usually for senior citizens who will need extensive medical attention but do not need to be in a hospital. These living arrangements will usually have around-the-clock medical team, a full-time support staff, and amenities such an exercise room, birthday parties, and other social engagements. Most of the time Medicaid will pay for these arrangements. Unfortunately, if you are on Medicare it will not pay for this.
Staying With a Relative
This is usually for seniors who will need some healthcare needs met and a small bit of living support. One advantage of this arrangement is that there is the companionship and care from people that are already well-known to the senior citizen.