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Navigating Assisted Living Decisions: When One Parent Needs Care


It’s not unusual for senior couples to have different health care needs. If the two remain at home, one often becomes a caregiver to the other. Being a caregiver to a spouse can be emotionally and physically taxing, especially when the caregiver is facing their own set of age-related challenges.


At the same time, moving one parent into senior care while the other remains at home is not easy. Many couples would like to continue living together. Ultimately, the best choice for your family will depend on your parent’s financial resources, personal preferences, and particular care needs. Lifestyle concierge services Discerning Seniors shares some tips to help you navigate this difficult decision and ensure both of your parents get the care they need to thrive in their senior years.


What Are Their Health Care Needs?


The first part of the decision-making process is determining what kind of care your parents need. Could they both benefit from assisted living support? Does one of your parents need access to a higher level of medical care in a skilled nursing facility? A health assessment from a primary care doctor can help your family determine what level of care each of your parents need, both for now and in the years to come.


Keep in mind that some communities may offer services that fit the needs of both parents. For example, the parent that needs it can access memory care, medication management, and assistance with daily living activities like bathing; the other parent can make use of helpful services like housekeeping and laundry. Assisted living facilities make it easy for couples with different care needs to continue living together while accessing the assistance they need. For help finding the ideal retirement home that fits your needs and budget, turn to the experts at Discerning Seniors. Through careful research and planning, they can assist you every step of the way.


Finding the Right Home


Once you determine what type of care your parents need, the next step is finding the right care home. Regardless of whether your parents will be living together or apart, keep both of them in the loop during the decision-making process. Listen to their wishes and concerns. Find out what’s important to the parent moving into the nursing home, such as meals, physical therapy, religious connections, or access to outdoor areas.


Most importantly, visit different facilities and see what they’re like in person. Online pictures will never tell the whole story. Keep an eye out for communities that prioritize socialization and high-quality care. Get a feel for the amenities, programming, and culture of the community. Residents who have regular opportunities to socialize and participate in activities will experience better overall physical and emotional health!


Paying for Senior Care


The cost of senior care can serve as a significant barrier for seniors who need assistance. The good news is that there are several different ways to cover these costs and ensure your parents get the care they need. According to Comfort Life, some potential funding options include pension benefits, long-term care insurance, or cashing out a life insurance policy.


Your parents could also sell their home to free up cash for senior care expenses. Help them calculate their home equity online to estimate how much money they can get back when they sell. This is done by subtracting the amount left on the mortgage from the current market value of their home. Just remember that selling a home comes with it’s fair share of preparations. This includes making necessary repairs and upgrades, deep cleaning and staging. Some of these can add to the costs of moving, so be sure to help your parents budget effectively.


Housing Options for Your Other Parent


If one parent needs nursing home care and the other doesn’t, you will need to find somewhere for your other parent to live. Help them find a solution that makes the most sense both financially and logistically. They might want to downsize into an apartment or condo near the nursing home where your other parent is moving. Downsizing is an excellent way for seniors to cut their living costs and do away with home maintenance tasks, enabling a simpler and more enjoyable life.


If they could use some help with their daily living activities, assisted living could be a viable choice as well. The added benefit of moving into an assisted or independent living community is the opportunity to socialize and engage with others, reducing the risk of senior loneliness and isolation for couples who are forced to separate for care purposes.


Making the Transition


Helping your parents make the transition to senior living care is one of the most difficult parts of the process. Things get even more challenging if you’re moving your parents into two different senior living situations. Keep in mind that your parents may be navigating a sea of difficult emotions right now—loss, confusion, shock, anger, and sadness.


If possible, try to help the parent who needs care get settled in their nursing home before helping the other parent downsize into an apartment or assisted living community. Visit the facility with your parents before moving to help them get familiar with the community ahead of time. Give the staff as much information as possible about your parents so they can develop a car strategy that aligns with their wants and needs. Try to set up their new living space in a way that closely resembles the home they are moving from.


Downsizing and Decluttering


If your other parent is navigating the downsizing process, help them sort through their things and plan out their new living space. Life Storage recommends planning where each item will go in their new home during the decluttering process. Focus on the most important aspects of their lifestyle and daily habits, ensuring they have all the furniture, amenities, and home features they need to live the way they want. Oversized items, memorabilia, and other belongings they want to keep that are not suitable for their new, smaller space may be better off in a storage unit.


Moving parents into senior care is something that nearly every child will have to deal with at some point in their life. While this transition isn’t easy for anyone, especially when parents have differing care needs, there are steps you can take to make the process as smooth as possible. Planning ahead, researching different care options, and keeping your parents involved in the decision-making process will go a long way towards helping your parents adjust to this new phase of their lives.

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