Older adults tend to resist when it’s time to talk about what will happen when they are no longer able to live on their own. But starting the conversation about senior care options with your loved one early can save the family from a lot of stress.
“Unfortunately, too often senior care conversations occur during an emergency situation, and decisions need to be made immediately.”
So, what should caregivers do to make the decision-making process as smooth as possible?
According to Chandelle Martel, manager of the Geriatric Care Program for Bethesda, the best thing you can do is plan ahead. The best time to talk to your loved ones about senior care options is before a crisis happens.
Steps to Start the Conversation About Senior Care Options
Discussing care options with seniors is not always an easy task. Follow Bethesda’s tips below to make your senior care option conversation run smoothly.
- Make plans to gather the whole family and have the conversation as soon as possible
- Involve your senior loved one in the decision-making process as much as is reasonable
- Bring a senior care professional into the discussion to provide expert advice on available care options
- Take a tour of senior living communities so your loved one can experience the lifestyle offered and meet some of the people who live there.
- Be prepared to take the conversation a little more slowly if Mom and Dad are reluctant to talk by discussing one aspect of their care at a time
“It will be very advantageous to make your senior as comfortable as possible with the planning process,” said Chandelle. “It’s important to listen to their preferences on senior care options – where they want to live, what their priorities are, and what sort of medical directives they want to be honored.”
Consider involving a Geriatric Care Manager at your tours of senior living communities. The healthcare professional can provide the family – and especially the senior – with an unbiased viewpoint while working to find a compromise between family members who may not agree on the best course of action.
A tour helps seniors feel comfortable with the future of their healthcare. Often times, older adults imagine their twilight years will resemble senior health care 20, 30 or 40 years ago. They’re often quite pleased to discover the many new senior care options available to them.
Benefits of Planning Ahead
Creating a senior care plan will benefit you, your senior loved one, and your entire family. Just some benefits include:
- Avoid a power struggle that could divide your family
- Be sure that the senior’s wishes are respected as much as possible
- Caregivers have peace of mind that they did the right thing
- Keep things under control as much as possible
Deciding which senior care options are best for a senior loved one who may no longer be able to completely care for themselves isn’t just stressful for Mom and Dad. Family and loved ones struggle to fulfill their interpretation of their parents’ wishes. Sometimes finances become a major issue, as family members disagree on how to best use limited resources.
Still struggling to start the conversation about senior care options with your parent? Bethesda can help! Contact Bethesda’s Care Management Team for assistance in making the decision, and read on for more tips for senior caregivers.