As senior care professionals, we think of ourselves as partners to the older adults and families we serve. But we often find we have a challenge to overcome when interacting with older adults and their families who are considering independent or assisted living for the first time. It can be tough to bring up topics like the eventual move to assisted living when our loved ones are apprehensive of change, knowing how to approach the topic is key.
Understanding and considering family dynamics is part of the work a senior care partner does each day. By first breaking down exactly what those communication barriers are, we can begin to truly work productively with older adults and their families.
Understanding the Barriers
In younger years, people are hesitant to fully plan for the future. As a result, important conversations like life insurance and long-term care are sidelined, with families assuming there will be plenty of time in the future to discuss them. But it’s important to make sure you understand the wishes of your older loved ones, as you’ll likely be the one making those decisions if they are unable to do so for themselves.
As care partners, we’re here to guide you through those preparations. We can outline exactly what your options will be and help your loved ones make those decisions now. You are able to outline preferences and work together to plan the senior living options that match particular preferences.
Removing the Stigma
Another obstacle to care discussions is the stigma senior care has developed over the years. Many people don’t realize how much the industry has evolved, though. Often families are quite impressed at what they see when they tour a community. Amenities like fitness rooms and social activities are offered at many senior living communities.
To get around the stigma, it’s important that older adults and their loved ones tour a community in person during the planning phase. By planning in advance, you’ll be sure you’re considering all the options.
This open-door policy doesn’t end once a loved one is part of a senior care community. Loved ones should feel free to ask any questions or make suggestions that will improve their quality of care. The partnership between a care provider and those engaging in care is just as important after the move as it was during the planning phase.
Walker Methodist’s goal is to ensure every family has a resource at each location, and that the resource is always available. However, it’s also important that loved ones realize that they have someone in their corner. This starts by educating families early on in their search in order to make sure they know these resources are available at each location.
Although conversations surrounding senior care planning can be uncomfortable, it will help to have a partner you can trust as you start to plan. Seek out those resources at each community you tour and feel free to reach out to those communities you’re interested in so they can help to be a guide through your decision-making process.