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When Should You Talk Senior Care with Your Parents?  

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The majority of the time, seniors prefer home care services to a live-in, full time care facility. However, this is not always possible.

Making the decision for a parent to transition out of the family home and move into a senior living facility is not easy by any means. Often it is a stressful time when emotions run high. Although you may feel your parent needs help, your parent may insist that they are just fine without any help at all.

There are some warning signs that can help you know when you should introduce the topic of senior living care to your aging parents. These are common symptoms of growing older, but when ignored then they could lead to a higher risk for accidents such as slips and falls, or even in a more tragic situation.

Some of the stronger warning signs include:

  • a refrigerator that is empty or filled with spoiled foods
  • unexplained weight loss or unexpected weight gain
  • frequent bruising, especially associated with slips and falls
  • neglecting personal hygiene and other self-care basics
  • wearing the same clothes over and over for days
  • blatant disregard for housekeeping and lawn care
  • forgetting to take medicine or keep doctor appointments
  • a sense of depression or talking about how lonely they are
  • odd behavior patterns, like wearing Bermuda shorts in the winter

Choosing a Senior Facility for Your Parents

Before you broach the subject with your parents, talk to other members of your family first. This allows you to get their consensus on what step to take next before approaching your parent as a united front. If they have reservations about the idea of your parent moving into a senior living facility, then it could send the wrong message to your elderly parent, and thus derail the entire process.

Also talk to your aging parent’s doctor. It could be that their symptoms are due to something like a side effect of medication, or the doctor could have diagnosed them with something that they chose not to divulge. Remember that you will need to have your parent with you when you talk to their doctor, or they may need to sign a waiver or release that legally allows their doctor to share information with you.

Begin the discussion by letting them know how much you care about them, and how concerned you are for their well-being. Let them know that you have researched some options that could make their life easier. Explain that you do not want them to be shut away inside their home all alone day in and day out, but that you want them to have a safe place where they can socialize among their peers.

And finally, use language that reminds them that ultimately this is their decision which will make them feel like they still maintain some semblance of control. For example, use phrases like: what would make you feel safest and what did you like most or least about the facility we just toured. This will also help your parent realize that you are only trying to make their health and welfare your top priority.

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