Having the conversation with your senior loved one is one of the biggest deterrents in helping the senior make a life transition. It’s very difficult to explain the changes you see in the senior, and why you think they would benefit from some extra support. One of the best ways to handle this is to get the doctor more involved. There is nothing wrong with calling the doctor prior to an appointment to ask for his/her support in offering their concerns on why they think a change would benefit the senior. This takes some of the burden off the adult child by allowing the child to be able to refer to what the doctor said when bringing up the subject in the future. Often, seniors revere their physicians and their opinion matters a great deal. If the adult child can reiterate the points the doctor made, the shift has been taken off the child, and the senior is more likely to listen to the doctor’s advice.
We also recommend a respite stay when the senior is first starting to wrap their head around the idea of making a lifestyle transition. Most senior living communities will let the senior stay for a couple of weeks to a month or more, to “try it before you buy it”. It’s a great way for the senior to meet some new friends, try the food, get used to the routine, environment, and staff. Often, this gives the senior the opportunity to live the lifestyle for a while, and at some point, the senior realizes this is much easier than it was at home.
Finally, when these ideas have been exhausted, but the senior still is not willing to make the change, we would recommend hiring a Geriatric Care Manager. This is usually a nurse who makes a plan of care for the senior and proposes his/her ideas for more support for the senior. Sometimes having a third party involved helps the adult child who wants to say things to their parent, but just can’t. The Geriatric Care Manager can be an objective voice allowing the child to maintain their relationship with their parent, yet still have an advocate by their side helping to see that the parent has a plan for future care needs.
It’s a difficult road for the adult child, but with some tools in their tool box, they can help their loved one make a successful transition to senior living!