Our parents or parent wish to stay in their own home, preferably as long as possible. When we feel it’s no longer in their best interests, how do we convince them it is for their health and wellbeing?
The image of these facilities being an “old folks’ home” and merely a step closer toward death are a thing of the past. This image and mindset is inaccurate.
Most seniors thrive living in aged care facilities. No longer being responsible to maintain a home, meals fully prepared, making an abundance of new friends and countless activities to enjoy.
Seniors who cling to the idea that remaining in the family home are not aware they are becoming more isolated and often depressed. With the effects of natural aging ailments, chores become more difficult. Should memory failure begin, the stove may not get turned off, becoming one of many concerns to raise your stress levels.
You need to start the conversation. Here is some guidance to assist the situation:
- Never approach as if it was your idea, and the decision is already made for them. Plant the seed. Giving options could make the journey easier and get them interested. Do your research. What aged care facilities are available in either you or your parents’ areas? Quite often parents do not live in the same state or town as their children so there is the need to decide where they should live. Either stay in their area to be near friends or move to a locality nearer their children. The latter option is beneficial for family taking over the responsibilities where needed, and ensuring regular visits.
- Jump on google, ask the question, I promise you will open a can of worms. There are an enormous number of facilities available around the country. Alternatively, you may wish to visit government sites who would be able to provide you with all the information you may need, myagedcare.gov.au is a good start.
- Once you have a list of local facilities, you could offer to take them on a tour. If they appear willing, fantastic, but don’t push it. If they resist the opportunity, leave it be and tackle another day.
- Wait for the right moment. They may mention being on their own too often. Use that opportunity to perhaps visit the aged care centre nearby the local Church. Raise how everyone would feel better if they had more companionships. Use your gut on timing but use a particular scenario to give them a gentle nudge.
- Do your best to make them feel they are in control of their life and the big decision.
- You may possibly have a friend with their parent in a local aged care facility. Ask around your social groups. It may help to have a visit and introduce them. Having a familiar face around would certainly assist in making the process easier.
- Ask them lots of questions. Would they prefer a larger facility or a smaller place? Is there a particular area they would like? Would they prefer a modern environment or an older, or say, cosier place?
- On tours, show interest in how much privacy residents have. Ask about bringing furniture from home and how much space there is in each room. Take a measuring tape and visualize how your loved one’s apartment could be set up and decorated. Showing excitement for the move would only encourage their own excitement.
- Stress the benefits and peace of mind that increased safety measures will offer both of you.
The last step in this process is to wait and let it all sink in. If your family is close-knit, arrange a meeting and tell them how much better everyone would feel if the move were made. Do not make it seem like an intervention. Allow everyone involved to discuss their concerns and anxieties about the current situation and a potential move. Perhaps enlisting a family friend or the family doctor may assist in this discussion.
Try to keep sensitive to your parent’s feelings. Leaving a home full of memories is a very difficult and emotional decision. Whittling down a lifetime of possessions is a lot to ask of someone. Be kind and try to make it be about your parent, and not about you.
Having said that, you also need to be kind to yourself. There is no room for guilt, you are doing this out of love. It can get exhaustive but once you have achieved your goal, there will be plenty of room for the whole family to be happy.
Don’t forget, your parent will require an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) approval for Government funded residential care before they can move in.
The Colomba Team offer a variety of packages to assist you in the process of relocating your loved ones. Our first consultation is free… Contact us to make a time