It is never easy discussing with a parent moving from their home to assisted living or a nursing home. As an adult, watching parents decline can be stressful and cause concern for safety. It may become clear that the parents need to be moved to a safer environment. However, this is not always as clear or easy to talk about with parents. Here are some talking tips on making the changes with your parents.
1. My best advice is to start the conversation when your parents are in fairly good health. The conversation will most likely be short but it will open the door. I find most seniors aren’t willing to discuss it and want to stay in the home. Continue talking regularly, even if the conversation is one sided.
2. Make sure there is a power of attorney (POA) and healthcare proxy in place with a main POA and an alternative clearly designated. The alternative is generally a son, daughter or close relative. The POA allows for all medical and financial decisions to be made, if the person is incapacitated.
3. If possible, discuss the financial situation. It will be helpful to know what resources are available and where they are located. Have the alternative’s name (if not the spouse) placed on any bank accounts. It makes it easier to get to funds if a serious health issue occurs. If there are questions about financial matters, contact an elder care lawyer.
4. Enlist the support of your parent’s medical team. Many seniors listen to the words of a doctor. Express your concerns to the doctor in a phone call. Emphasize safety issues.
5. Visit assisted living and/or nursing homes with or without your parents. Before visiting, create a list of what is important in a facility for the parent’s and family. For instance, how close is it to family members? Does it provide the specialty care required? What is the cost? Knowing what facilities are available, will ease the stress when the time to move arises.
6. If there are siblings involved, try to have a united front. Talk amongst yourselves and devise a plan. Don’t be surprised if there isn’t a consensus at the beginning.
In the end, either your parents will realize it isn’t working at home and agree to move, or there will be a catastrophic event leading to the need for placement. Either way, having some of the above items in place will make the journey smoother and less stressful.