On my drive home the other day, I was thinking a lot about why adult children are so fearful about moving their parents from their homes to senior living communities. I have been through this with families many times and I understand their feelings of guilt and stress. While each case is unique, those feelings are to be expected because it is a very sensitive time. The difficulty I find in talking with the families is why it took so long for them to make this decision.
One of the most common things I hear is, “We knew we had to move her, but kept putting it off.” Waiting until they absolutely need to move their loved one only adds stress since, by then, they need to make a decision quickly. It seems like more and more, the families wait because they become frozen with fear; they think that once they make a decision, it’s etched in stone and they’ll have to live with it the rest of their lives – it’s the end all.
Even when moving elders to senior living communities is the best decision and it’s right in front of their eyes, adult children don’t move forward or take action because they’re worried their parents’ lifestyle will change too dramatically and it will have a negative impact. I think family members have a hard time because they think that when their mom moves, she will look at it like, “that’s it; my life as I have known it is over.” The problem with this kind of thinking is it hurts, rather than helps, their loved one.
Senior living communities relieve elders of the stress of everyday living. They provide a sanctuary for seniors to live life to the fullest. All the tasks that they currently find difficult are taken care of. Just look at Assisted Living Facilities, where seniors maintain their privacy and can leave the home to participate in their activities around town. Their lifestyles do not change negatively, but for the better. By having nurses and trained caregivers that help with the strenuous tasks, your senior can focus solely on the aspects of life they actually enjoy. It’s more of a delegation of duties – passing on responsibilities – so they can spend their time on the things that make them happy.
The next most common response I hear is, “I should have moved them sooner.”
That’s what I wish we could tell families going through this hard time. Senior living communities are not end-of-life care facilities, they are places you go to receive benefits and quality care to enrich their lives. It’s when the fear of moving forward becomes so crippling to the adult children that it hinders the livelihood of their seniors, that’s when I take things to heart.
Maybe I’m overthinking it and maybe I’m being overly sentimental. I just wish there was a way for adult children to immediately trust us and their decision to move their parents to senior living communities. We know the outcome, we’ve witnessed it time and time again. When seniors need more care and support to keep them safe, a transition comes with enough benefits and rewards that they don’t need to worry. They will be thankful they moved their senior.