Steps to Decide if Assisted Living Is Right for Your Senior Loved One
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While many seniors choose to age in place and spend their retirement years in their own home, others need the support that you can only find at an assisted living facility. If you’ve become increasingly concerned about your loved one’s health, you might be wondering if it’s finally time to help them make that big move.
Sometimes, it can be hard to tell when a senior would be happier in an assisted living facility. Here’s how Coach Win, retirement advisor, suggests to keep an eye out for telltale signs, address the topic in conversation, and help your loved one cover the costs of moving to their new residence.
Monitoring Physical Health
Does your loved one struggle to get around their own home because of their limited mobility? Perhaps they’ve fallen several times at home, or they have trouble showering or getting up the stairs on their own. If so, you may worry when they are home alone, and your anxiety over their well-being might subside if they were in an assisted living facility instead.
Paying Attention to Their Mental Health
Even if your loved one appears physically healthy, their cognitive abilities may be in decline. If your loved one is displaying early signs of dementia, like short-term memory loss or difficulty communicating, it’s probably time to consider assisted living. The progression of a serious condition like dementia will eventually hold your loved one back from driving, running errands, and maintaining their own home.
Talking to Your Loved One
If you’ve accepted that you can’t give your loved one the care they truly need, it’s time to sit down with them to ask about their feelings on moving into a senior community. Talk to them about your concerns and involve other family members who help support your loved one.
During these conversations, you can also work with your loved one to decide which type of senior community would suit them best. If your loved one does not need much assistance with everyday tasks, they might want to settle down at an independent living community, where they can enjoy special amenities, services, and the use of common spaces in addition to housing. If your loved one requires lots of help with basic domestic responsibilities, commonly referred to as ADLs or activities of daily living, you’ll want to start researching assisted living facilities. Finally, if your loved one needs 24-hour care in addition to assistance with daily activities, then a nursing home may be the best option.
Figuring Out Finances
Once you’ve helped your loved one decide on an appropriate facility, you’ll need to go over their finances and make plans to cover the expenses. Government programs can help cover the costs of a nursing home, or they may have to sell their home or use long-term care insurance to handle the costs.
If your loved one decides to sell their home to pay for long-term care, it's a good idea to look at other listings in their neighborhood to get an idea of how much they can get from the sale of their home. You can also look online for the Zillow house value to see a personalized estimate of your loved one’s home. Keep in mind that you can boost the value of their home with curb appeal, targeted upgrades, and proper staging.
You should also consider taking out a small life insurance policy for your parents. As your family adjusts to the high costs of assisted living, life insurance will help you and your parents feel secure about their finances. If one parent passes away, you may be able to use the insurance policy to cover the costs of moving your surviving parent into an assisted living facility.
For your loved one, leaving their home behind is probably not an easy choice. Be patient with your loved one as they weigh the pros and cons before making their final decision. Even seniors who were initially resistant to the idea of moving into an assisted living facility often find that they’re much more comfortable in an accessible residence with additional support. In the right assisted living facility, your loved one can thrive and enjoy life to the fullest.
Retirement can be a great time to relax and reap the benefits of years of hard work. However, if you haven’t planned well, it can be a time of financial stress. Edwin W. Smith, or Coach Win, is well-versed in the highs and lows of retirement. He wants to share his wisdom with you through resources and speaking engagements. Visit his website to learn more.