Almost any family that has experienced it will tell you that one of the most difficult challenges when dealing with older loved ones is how and when to make the move from independent living.
There are two significant issues when making the change in a living situation: practical and emotional. Making this change will be a struggle for everyone in the family.
So, how do you know when it is time for a shift in the living situation?
Look carefully at how things are changing. Are appointments being missed? Is their home not as neat and clean as it used to be? Maybe they are missing meals. Is there a sudden weight change in either direction? Are they falling?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of five falls causes a serious injury. Emergency rooms see 3 million older people per year due to falls. From 2007 to 2016, fall death rates in seniors jumped 30 percent That trend is expected to continue. The CDC anticipates that, barring some substantial change, by 2030, there will be seven senior fall deaths per hour.
On the emotional side, it may be likely your senior family members will resist change. After living independently for so long, they may see this move as the beginning of the end. In some ways, it may actually be easier emotionally if they are a widow or widower because if that’s the case, they are experiencing another emotion – loneliness.
This can also be emotionally challenging for adult children. While it is likely that a move away from independent living will make life a little easier for adult children, they will also have strong feelings about what these changes mean for their family.
Because making this change is far from easy, it can be important to bring in an expert – an independent third party that can help make both the practical and the emotional easier to handle.
An objective expert can look at the situation and help determine what the next steps should be. It could be an assisted living facility (ALF), skilled nursing facility, or it might require only bringing in home health care.
As far as the emotional issues, an objective expert’s guidance will be based only on what’s best for everyone. While the emotional factor is not taken out of the equation, it can be dealt with more effectively.
If you find your family seeing some of these issues, we can help. Palm Aging Life Management is familiar with resources available in our community. We can help give guidance on the practical decision, and we understand the emotional side. Often, bringing an objective third party is what’s needed to move the process forward.