Have You Had the Difficult Conversations with Your Aging Parents?


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Have you ever had one of those conversations where you talk about everything, except what you really should be talking about?
With your father you talk about the weather and the fact that last night’s storm brought as much as two inches of rain, but not about the eventual need for him to move into some kind of assisted living setting.
With your mother you talk about how an old neighborhood friend has planted three dozen tulip bulbs in her backyard, but not about the fact that your mother does not seem to be able to keep herself as clean as she once did.
With both of your parents you talk about the news from the city council that the potholes around the city are not going to be fixed until early fall, but you do not discuss their wishes about what they want to do when they are no longer able to stay in their own homes.
With your siblings you talk about the what gifts you want to go in on together for the upcoming Christmas holidays, but you do not approach the topic of the signs that might indicate that your parents are in need of a live in healthcare assistant.
The conversations about assisted living care, skilled nursing facility care, and in home healthcare are difficult to have. Adult children defer to their parents and often those parents want to steer clear of any conversations that might limit their future independence. Although an entire industry exists that provides everything from small amounts of assisted living care to skilled nursing facilities that provide every possible kind of medical care, the discussions of these varied options are often avoided like the plague. Families would rather continue talking about the neighbors, the local government, and upcoming family gatherings than even come close to the important conversations about necessary future care.
Without these important conversations about future care needs, however, both adult children and their parents can find themselves having to make last minute decisions in response to unexpected or emergency health developments. Most experts recommend that instead of avoiding the difficult conversations about assisted living care centers, nursing homes, and convalescence homes, it is far better to make sure that these conversations take place far sooner than they are ever needed.
Health Care Agencies Provide Families with a Variety of Options for Aging Parents
Senior retirement communities are offered in a variety of price ranges throughout the country. From assisted living care settings to far more structured memory care centers and long term care facility settings, the options for families continue to grow. Consider some of these statistics:

  • Decisions about long term care needs are often better when they are not yet needed.
  • It can be emotionally stressful to admit a loved one to a skilled care facility, but researching a high quality center will ease the anxiety of both the parents and the adult children.
  • Families that schedule a time to talk about future residential care can be better prepared for difficult future decisions.
  • Family and consumer research shows that women are three times as likely to reside in a nursing home during some point of their lives then men are.
  • In many situations Azheimer’s disease is the most common reason elders are admitted into a nursing home, because families are seeking solutions to the need for 24 hour supervision.
  • Concern for senior Independent living options is often a gateway concern for future skilled care needs.
  • Until you tackle the difficult conversations that you need to be having with your aging parents you will continue to be emotionally unprepared for the decisions you will eventually need to make.
  • Long term care is necessary for some people, but this is not always the first situation that families need to face. Initially, families look at an assisted living setting that provides several levels of care as a patient is in need of more and more medical services.
  • The statistics show that in the year 2000, approximately 4.5% of all U.S. citizens 65 and older resided in a nursing home. One of the reasons that the nursing home industry is expected to grow in the immediate future is that many from the baby boomer generation will soon turn 65 and will be seeking some kind of residential care.

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