Moving to a senior living community isn’t just a big deal for Mom, it’s hard on you, too. Tackle some of the common fears adult children have about the transition to assisted living so you can focus on supporting your parent.
1. My mom will lose her active lifestyle.
There is a perception that communities are isolated or enforce a strict schedule, which may lead you to worry about your mom’s independence. In reality, senior living communities make activities more accessible by providing on-site enrichment opportunities. If your mom is comfortable driving, she’ll still be able to run all of her errands, stay involved in her current activities, and visit friends and family. If she doesn’t want to drive, her senior living community will provide transportation.
Often, people confuse staying in the family home with independence, forgetting that Mom may live in isolation or have mobility issues that limit her access. Senior living communities are designed to continuously engage residents, providing the important social engagement that contributes greatly to their quality of life.
2. Mom will run out of money.
If finances are a concern, know that your mom has options. Many seniors choose to preserve their retirement nest eggs by moving into senior rental communities rather than buying into life plan communities (formerly known as continuing care retirement communities). If she requires nursing care or assisted living but can’t afford it, Medicaid may provide full or partial coverage depending on your state. Finally, your mom also may be able to convert part of her life insurance policy or use the proceeds from the sale of her house to cover living expenses.It’s a good idea to research communities as soon as possible. If you wait for an emergency, you could be faced with options that are too expensive.
3. My mom won’t get the care she needs.
Perhaps you care for your mom exclusively or she’s had a health crisis. Regardless, it’s natural to worry about the quality of care she’ll receive. A good first step is to meet with her doctor to determine the level of care she’ll need and the services to look for in a community. From there, you can visit different residential options until you both feel comfortable. It might help to write a senior living community or an assisted living checklist to take on your visits, finding out such things as:
- How will my mom’s medications be handled and monitored?
- How do you make sure residents are getting the right nutrition?
- What type of safety measures are in place in case my mom has an emergency?
Remember that quality care is the most important feature of your mom’s senior living community, so don’t get distracted by fancy surroundings and amenities. Focus on the care first.
4. Mom will miss her old life.
The transition to assisted living or a senior living community is a big change, but that doesn’t mean your mom won’t adjust and come to enjoy her new surroundings it. In fact, roughly 90 percent of independent and 94 percent of assisted living residents report that they are highly satisfied with their communities. Seniors also report feeling safer than they would at home and that they are satisfied with the level of personal attention paid to them by staff. If quality of life is still a concern for you, consider meeting with some community residents to get their perspectives.
5. I will feel guilty about moving my mom.
Personal guilt is often a road block on the route to a successful move, especially if your mom has resisted moving. Hedge against the guilt by conducting good research to find the right senior living community, and take comfort in the fact that nothing is permanent; Mom can move again if needed—especially if she’s chosen to rent in a senior community. If you continue to have negative feelings, consider seeing a family therapist, with your mom or without.
Learn more about moving elderly parents into senior living by visiting a Life Care Services-managed community in your area and talking to the senior living experts there.