“I’m just not ready yet.” It’s a statement we hear a lot from people touring our assisted living communities. And it’s completely understandable! It can be difficult for older adults to leave the homes they’ve lived in for many years.
But what does it actually mean to be ready for assisted living? When older adults really think about that question, they often realize that “ready” looks a lot like how they currently live. As you discuss future care options with your parents, you can help them prepare for a possible transition by defining what “ready” means to them.
If It’s Time for Assisted Living, Don’t Wait Too Long
Weighing the move to a new home is a big decision. It’s hardly unreasonable that your parents might want to tour a number of assisted living communities or mull over their options before committing. But eventually you and your parents have to ask yourselves: Are you still studying your options? Or are you just putting off your decision?
Unfortunately, delaying that decision can have serious consequences.
If prospective residents wait until they absolutely can’t care for themselves, they may no longer be good candidates for assisted living. At that point, they might require a skilled nursing facility. While nursing homes can provide the right environment for people with greater medical needs, they don’t offer the same independence found in assisted living communities.
When older adults move into assisted living earlier, they receive the proper care, nutrition and support they need to maintain good health. In fact, many families notice that their loved ones actually have more energy and better health after making the move.
Senior Living: Defining “Ready”
You can’t force your parents to feel ready for change. But you can raise the subject while being sympathetic to their concerns. When you start the assisted-living conversation, ask them: “What will ‘ready’ look like for you?” It’s okay if they can’t answer right away, but you can at least encourage them to give the question some careful thought.
Will they be ready when they turn 75 or 80? Will they be ready when they can no longer climb stairs or prepare their own meals? It’s important to listen to their concerns. But the signs they equate with assisted living readiness might actually be warnings they’re waiting too long. Sometimes it’s helpful to gently point that out.
By starting such conversations early, your parents can paint a picture of their goals and expectations for the future – a picture that can help them recognize “ready” when they see it.
Whether your family is ready right now or is still in the thinking-it-over phase, it’s never too early to start considering your options. Learn more about the Heritage Assisted Living Communities in your area, or contact us to schedule a tour.