depressed mature man talking to counsellor

Caring for Elderly Parents? 4 Conflicts When Making a Care Decision

Caring for elderly parents brings its own set of unique challenges.

Suddenly, you’re faced with making a care decision…and unexpected conflicts with siblings arise or old tensions begin to surface.

While some amount of disagreement with family members is inevitable, that doesn’t mean you have to let disagreements spiral into a full-blown war.

In this post, we’re covering situations that provide the tinder for blazing family feuds. Most importantly, we’re sharing tips for each situation—helpful pointers to navigate these conflicts and foster resolution.

Let’s dive in…

1. Family Members Are Excluded from Caring for Elderly Parents or Making Decisions

When it comes to caring for elderly parents or deciding what care options are best, equality is rare…and a bit impractical.

Maybe your brother never seemed to care about Dad…until you started researching assisted living communities.

It’s understandable.

Including your brother in the decision is difficult when he’s been absent for so long. But the reality is, excluding your sibling from caring for your elderly parent might only widen the divide.

For situations like these, here’s an important pointer.

Except in extreme cases, don’t take an all-or-nothing approach.

Don’t exclude family members as punishment for past lack of involvement.

Brainstorm how to involve your family members, even if they aren’t qualified as caretakers…

  • Don’t get into a fight over home health vs. assisted living with your sibling. Instead, have your sister draw up a list of assisted living communities in your local area.
  • Take your aunt (who’s against Mom making a move) on tours to local communities. Ask her which community she thinks is best.
  • Share less important caregiving tasks with family members. Your sibling may not take Dad to a critical doctor visit, but he or she can take Dad to that physical therapy appointment.

2. The Distribution of Responsibilities and Decision-Making Is Unequal

But sometimes, family conflict doesn’t ensue because certain family members aren’t involved.

Sometimes, they’re simply not involved enough.

It’s not uncommon for some siblings to carry a heavy caregiving load…while others rarely pitch in to help—leading to major conflict.

Here are a few tips for getting absent family members involved in caring for elderly parents…

  • Analyze each family member’s strengths. Consider what your family members are good at. If your brother is an expert researcher…ask him to investigate the financial options Mom has for senior care.
  • Make an appeal. Don’t use guilt to manipulate family members into helping. Instead, ask your siblings to use their gifts to help. Explain how each one is the most qualified for the task.
  • Communicate honestly, but kindly. If your siblings aren’t responding as you’d like, explain what Mom or Dad is experiencing. Be honest, but place the focus on helping your family members strengthen their relationships with your parent…not on what you’re experiencing.

3. Families Have Difficulty Navigating How to Pay for Senior Care

money

Caring for elderly parents comes with a price tag…and money matters can easily spark family conflicts.

If financial discussions begin to create tension, don’t add fuel to the fire by recalling past grievances.

Redirect communication toward finding a solution for Mom or Dad, and resist the temptation to gossip or leverage passive-aggressive references. Instead…

  • Look into your parent’s financial options. For all you know, your parent may have access to veterans benefits or another form of financial aid.
  • Research affordable senior care. If you’re not familiar with affordable assisted living, it’s time to discover what this option is and how it can benefit your loved one.
  • Consider downsizing. According to HousingWire many areas are seeing robust growth as recently “64% of markets reached a new all-time high in home prices.” All that to say…consider encouraging your parent to sell his or her home and downsize…freeing up cash.
  • Research other options. At The Ashford, we offer affordable assisted living…but that doesn’t mean assisted living is for everyone. A multigenerational housing arrangement—such as converting your basement into a suite for Dad—may be the best choice for your family.

4. Elderly Parents Reject or Resist the Need for Care

Caring for elderly parents and navigating conflict becomes even more difficult when parents don’t recognize that a change is needed.

Perhaps you’re no longer physically able to help Mom. The problem is, Mom doesn’t think she needs outside care…and your sister who lives 300 miles away suddenly decides that Mom should stay at home.

If you’re facing a difficult situation, here are a few tips to consider:

  • Listen to your parents. Hear out their concerns about their future before making a decision.
  • Find common ground. See what you and your parents can agree on—for instance, that Dad isn’t safe to drive anymore.
  • Address the emotions involved. There’s more at stake than mere facts for your parent. More than likely, emotions are running high. Instead of coldly discussing why Mom needs better care, take her for a tour so she can see that assisted living isn’t a nursing home but a wonderful solution for the isolation she’s experiencing.

From resistant parents to squabbling siblings, when you’re facing family conflict, it’s important to avoid stoking the fires of interpersonal disagreements and focus on finding a solution…

And that’s where The Ashford comes in.

At The Ashford, we provide affordable assisted living communities for common senior care challenges such as….

  • Caregiver physical burnout.
  • Poor-quality family time.
  • High-priced care fees.
  • And more!

If you’re in the middle of a family conflict, reach out to us so we can provide support for your unique situation

Elderly friends

4 Assisted Living Myths Debunked

When it comes to making decisions related to assisted living, individuals and family members should take the necessary steps to get a clear and honest picture of what their options are.

A large part of the assisted living research process is getting clear on what’s true–and what’s hearsay.

There are many commonly held false beliefs when it comes to caregiving methods, medications, levels of care, mental health, and beyond.

If you’re considering assisted living as an option for your parent–yet feel uncertain about the validity of certain advice you’ve come across–this post will come in handy.

Read on to clear up confusion and misinformation surrounding four common myths about assisted living.

1. Moving to an Assisted Living Community Means Losing a Sense of Independence.

(Source)

Some seniors and their families assume that making the move to an assisted living community will mean the end of their independence.

However, with various choices of floor plans, activities, levels of care, and more, there could be nothing further from the truth.

Assisted living communities provide a safe environment with the right amount of assistance to enable residents to live more fully and independently.

No longer will you have to worry about your mother’s safety when making trips to the grocery store, or your father’s well-being as he attempts to cook dinner.

Doing away with the hassles of daily life, while maintaining independence and a rich life, is what assisted living is all about.

2. Residents in Assisted Living Get Less Personalized Attention Than They Would If They Lived at Home.

You may assume that with the numerous seniors residing in a senior living community, your parent will receive less personalized attention.

However, many assisted living communities have an impressive caregiver to resident ratio–ensuring that each resident receives the necessary attention and care.

At The Ashford communities, we provide a primary caregiver for each of our residents.

Our caregivers take the necessary time to not only care for each resident appropriately–but also get to know him or her on a deep and personalized level.

On the other hand, family members who attempt to serve as caregivers at home will often experience burnout and resentment–impacting the level and quality of care provided.

3. Assisted Living Is a Sad, Isolating Place for Seniors.

The media and pop culture of today often overly dramatize and skew the vision of life at an assisted living community.

Though some people may believe that assisted living communities are lonely and depressing places for seniors–the truth is quite the contrary.

Many assisted living communities are friendly, positive, and homey settings that provide seniors with a wonderful social life and enriched lifestyle.

With an easily accessible network of peers, stimulating extracurricular activities, delicious and nutritious meals, and kind and down-to-earth caregivers, many residents’ only regret is that they didn’t make the move earlier.

It may require some searching to find the right fit for your parent, but in the end, assisted living communities will add ease, safety, comfort, and joy to your loved one’s life.

4. Living in Assisted Living Means Seniors Will Have to Give Up Their Hobbies.

(Source)

Concerned that a move to an assisted living community will mean that your mother will need to give up her passion for gardening?

Or that your father will no longer have the ability to play chess and socialize with peers?

Think again.

Assisted living communities provide a wide range of activities to satisfy even the most particular of residents.

These communities make it a point to enable residents to continue to explore their passions and interests while ensuring increased safety and ease of daily life.

Don’t let myths like these hold your parent back from making the move to an assisted living community.

Hesitating to make the move for the above reasons only holds your parent back from living a fuller and safer life.

The Ashford communities provide assisted living options designed to replace an uncertain future with personalized support, social engagement, and peace of mind.

Call us today to schedule a tour of our Ashford on Broad, Ashford of Mt. Washington, and Ashford at Sturbridge (scheduled to open in fall 2018) communities, and see what we have to offer your parent!

happy old man smiling to young woman

Why Individualized Care Is Critical in Assisted Living Communities

No two individuals are the same.

Each and every one of us and our loved ones have our own preferences, needs, and interests.

For this reason, assisted living communities have an imperative to provide customized care suited to each resident.

In fact, the movement toward personalized care in assisted living communities has gained increased traction over the last few years.

Within this model of care, the goal is to provide the appropriate level of care based on the specific needs of the resident.

In this post, we’re highlighting three specific benefits that come with this type of personalized care.

#1: Individualized care provides stability for the resident.

Consistency, structure, and safety are all important elements of healthy aging.

If your loved one lives in an environment that does not provide these elements, he or she is more likely to feel overwhelmed, confused, and unhappy.

On the other hand, with personalized care, caregivers have a deep understanding of how to meet your loved one’s unique needs and create a daily routine and environment of ease.

Whether it be the knowledge that the same caregiver will be there every morning to assist with dressing, bathing, and other activities of daily living, or having consistent assistance at mealtime–personalized care makes a huge difference in your loved one’s daily life.

#2: Individualized care gives assisted living staff a deeper understanding of resident needs.

elderly lady laughing with caregiver

When assisted living caregivers have the opportunity to spend more time with individual residents, there is a natural process of learning that occurs.

Individualized care enables caregivers to take note of the intricacies of each and every resident’s needs, such as…

  • Knowing what a resident does or doesn’t like to eat.
  • Understanding what is most comfortable for the resident when it comes to helping him or her get dressed for the day.
  • Comprehending which social activities he or she wishes to attend.

From there, a caregiver can deliver quality care that helps the resident feel comfortable and at home in the assisted living community.

#3: Individualized care helps avoid social isolation.

Naturally, with an emphasis on personalized care comes increased social engagement between residents and caregivers.

For example, at The Ashford on Broad and The Ashford of Mt. Washington, one caregiver tends to the same resident throughout the day, including mealtime.

This allows for customized care and focused attention, as well as meaningful and lasting social engagement and bonding between resident and staff.

Whether recounting intriguing stories from the past or discussing similar interests and hobbies, the caregiver-resident relationship creates a dynamic for meaningful engagement.

Since isolation and loneliness are directly connected to a decline in the physical and mental well-being of individuals, taking steps to ensure that a resident has various opportunities for social engagement is an imperative.

If you’d like to see individualized care in action, contact us to schedule a tour of one of our Ashford communities.

We’re happy to answer any and all questions you have and look forward to meeting you in person!