How to Talk to Your Parents about Senior Care Options

If you are struggling to navigate the maze of senior care options, this overview and tips for talking with an older adult will help.

Photo of a senior man and his daughter enjoying one another's company.Families often spend more quality time together during the holiday season, sometimes for the first time in months. It gives them an opportunity to catch up and enjoy one another’s company. For some, however, the holidays are when the changes in a senior loved one become more apparent.

When it becomes obvious that an older family member needs a little more help, loved ones often begin to explore their options. For those new to senior care, the process of determining what type of care is needed can be overwhelming.

Before you talk with a loved one about senior care, it’s important to learn more about each option. To help you better understand what each type of care on the senior care continuum offers, we created this overview.

Navigating the Senior Care Continuum

  • Independent living: Designed for independent, more active seniors, this type of housing allows older adults to live a maintenance-free lifestyle. The resulting independence allows older adults to reconnect with former hobbies and passions and an opportunity to explore new ones. Residents who choose an independent living community are usually looking for opportunities to socialize and enjoy daily wellness and life enrichment programs. Some communities also offer additional services such as meals, housekeeping, transportation, laundry, and concierge support.
  • Assisted living: These care communities are often considered the best of two worlds for older adults. They allow residents to maintain their independence by having a private suite or apartment while knowing the support of caregivers is nearby when needed. Older adults who live in an assisted living community usually receive help with one or two activities of daily living, such as bathing, grooming, dressing, and medication management. Assisted living communities typically provide healthy meals and snacks, housekeeping, transportation, and laundry. Life enrichment activities and wellness programs are also standard.
  • Health care center: A long-term care center, also referred to as a nursing home, is for seniors and those living with disabilities who require around-the-clock skilled nursing care. In addition to health care services and personal care support, a long-term care center also offers well-balanced meals, daily life enrichment activities, housekeeping, laundry, and transportation. Many health care centers also have short-term rehab programs that aren’t limited to residents. Seniors often come to a rehab center for short-term care after they are hospitalized for an injury, illness, or planned surgery. Once they complete their rehab program, the senior typically transitions back to their private home.
  • Memory care: Dedicated Alzheimer’s care, often known as memory care, is typically part of an assisted living community or a long-term care center. Caregivers and staff members undergo additional education and training to learn how to support the needs of people living with dementia. Every detail is designed to support success for people with memory loss.
  • Senior home care: Nonmedical home care helps older adults maintain their independence at home. Caregivers come to the senior’s home to help with daily life tasks such as menu planning, grocery shopping, meal preparation, housekeeping, laundry, and transportation. They can also assist with personal care, such as grooming, bathing, and dressing.

Talking about Senior Care

Once you have a better understanding of each care option, it’s time to give some thought to how you will discuss the topic with your senior loved one. Sometimes the senior will welcome the help. Other times, especially if it means moving, the conversation won’t be as easy.

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind as you talk with a loved one about senior care:

  • Be respectful and kind; avoid being perceived as overly bossy
  • Remember how important independence is to seniors
  • Accept this will be a series of discussions, not just one
  • Share how you hope this care will improve their life
  • Be honest about your fears for your loved one’s safety and well-being
  • Ask your loved one for their thoughts, fears, and hopes

Finally, remember to be patient and accepting. You might be ready for your loved one to make this change, but they may not. Planting the seed might be all you can do in the short-term. Unless they are in imminent danger, this process may take time.

A Continuum of Care in Saratoga Springs

If you are looking for senior care in the Saratoga Springs, New York, area, we hope you will consider The Wesley Community. We offer a full continuum of care ranging from in-home care to independent and assisted living and long-term care. If you aren’t quite sure what type of care a loved one needs, our Level of Care Tool can help you make an informed choice.

Call us at (518) 587-3600 to learn more or to schedule a private tour.