Let go of the guilt: 6 reasons assisted living might be the best option for your parents
Few things in life are as stressful as trying to decide how to take care of aging parents. Although the elderly are a growing percentage of society, for many there is still a stigma about placing parents in designated senior care facilities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 21 percent of U.S. households are impacted by caregiving responsibilities. These caregiver efforts resulted in more than half (53 percent) saying their health declined because of the stress and effort to a level that reduced their ability to provide assistance.
Many people step into a caregiver role out of guilt, when in reality elderly parents (and their children) would often be better served by placing loved ones in an assisted-living facility. “Guilt is part of who we are,” explains Barry Jacobs in an article for aarp.org. “So that discrepancy between what you think you should do and what you’re willing and able to do may always cause some guilt. Let’s accept that as a given, then, and work on tempering the feeling.”
Here are some reasons assisted living is often the best option for aging loved ones.
It can save your relationship
Older parents can become dependent on adult children for help of all kinds. These role reversals can strain relationships, resulting in resentment on both sides. The CDC reports 73 percent of caregivers said caregiving stress is a major concern and they regularly rely on prayer to help them cope. Assisted living frees elderly parents from total reliance on sons and daughters. It also liberates younger family members from being full-time caregivers.
It’s a sad reality that as people grow older, they often lose lifelong contacts. Friends and family members pass away and getting out to socialize often become difficult. Senior living establishments provide opportunities for social interaction with others who are in the same stage of life who often have similar interests.
Improved quality of life
While many seniors want to remain independent, in reality some simply are not capable of fully taking care of themselves. Quality assisted-living specialists understand an individual may still be able to perform daily chores. Instead of relinquishing privacy, and independence, assisted care only picks up those chores that can no longer be handled safely or appropriately.
Better health and nutrition
While diet is important for everyone, it can be critical for aging adults. “Eating well may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, bone loss, some kinds of cancer and anemia,” notes nihseniorhealth.gov. “If you already have one or more of these chronic diseases, eating well and being physically active may help you better manage them. Healthy eating may also help you reduce high blood pressure, lower high cholesterol and manage diabetes.” An assisted living situation makes it possible to ensure elderly individuals are getting proper daily nutrition.
Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for older Americans, according to the National Council on Aging. The resulting injuries reduce quality of life and can be expensive, yet they are difficult to prevent. Other risks for the elderly include simple things like forgetting to take necessary medications or getting lost. In an assisted-living situation, safety and comfort are provided at a level that is very difficult for many to achieve at home.
Vets earned it
Military veterans qualify for the Aid and Attendance and Housebound Improved Pension benefit. A New York Times article reports many veterans are unaware of the benefit, “which can cover the costs of caregivers in the home (including sons and daughters who are paid to be caregivers, though not spouses) or be used for assisted living or a nursing home.” The amount can be up to $2,019 monthly for a veteran and spouse or up to $1,094 for the widow of a veteran.
While every family’s situation is different, there are actually many more reasons allowing elderly parents to live in an assisted-care facility is frequently the best option.