Many adults find themselves caring for not only their own children, but their aging parents as well. Seemingly overnight, the caretaker role has shifted from parent to child. This quick transition can be difficult for everyone involved, but it’s important to remember that having our parents with us is a privilege. That being said, we should all strive to do the best we can to ensure they’re safe, happy, and thriving as they enter their later years.
One common question we get at all of our senior living communities is: How do I know when it’s time to move my parent into a community instead of keeping them at home? There is no singular criteria that means it’s the right time. However, there are certain factors you can consider to help you determine what’s best for their well-being. There are also crucial mistakes to avoid in order to best care for your senior loved one.
Mistake #1: Rushing into Big Decisions
The decision to move your aging parent into a senior community is a big one, and one that shouldn’t be made overnight. The first step is to determine what level of care your parent needs – will they be okay in an independent living community, or do they need more support in assisted living?
Independent senior living communities are mainly for older adults who have very little need for assistance. They have access to a huge range of amenities and activities, they can live in close proximity to their peers, and medical staff are on the premises for anything they need. Assisted living comes with more support, such as medication management, help with bathing and getting ready for the day, food shopping, meal preparation and much more.
Mistake #2: Keeping Your Parents Under a Rock
Maintaining an active social life is crucial for older adults. Friends, family, and our community are at the heart of who we are, and unfortunately many older adults often feel isolated from their loved ones due to a number of factors. Thankfully, technology helps bridge this gap making it easy for us to stay in touch with each other. If your parent isn’t up to speed with video calling and text messaging, help them learn how to use it so they can stay connected with the world around them. It’s also important that they get out of the house and see their loved ones in person, especially during this time of year when the weather permits.
Mistake #3: Not Having an Estate Plan
Ask your parent if they have a will, and if they don’t, we recommend contacting an elder lawyer who specializes in estate planning so they can get their affairs in order. You need to plan for a variety of unforeseen circumstances including accidents, injuries and illnesses, and your parent needs to make a plan for what happens with their assets when they are no longer here. Passing away without an estate plan can cause arguing and disruption amongst a family, and that’s the last thing your mom or dad would want.
Mistake #4: Not Asking for Help
Caregiver burnout is a very real phenomenon, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed, please ask family and friends for help. You need to be mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy in order to provide the best care possible for your senior parent, and the responsibility cannot rest on you alone. Reach out and don’t be afraid to ask for help. If your family and friends cannot take on any caregiving responsibilities, it’s in your best interest to look into respite care at a senior community near you.
How to Best Care for Your Aging Parent in NJ
Caring for your aging parent can send you through a whirlwind of emotions, but at the end of the day, it really is a privilege to have them with you. We know you want to do the best job possible, so if you have questions about senior care or if you would like to learn more about our senior living communities in NJ, please contact one of our teams at JCHC today.
JCHC’s Lester Senior Living community in Morris County, New Jersey, offers many families the peace of mind that comes from knowing their loved ones are safe, secure, and well-looked after in both assisted living and independent living apartments. Learn more here: https://jchcorp.org/