In many parts of Asia, aging in place or with family members is the common way elders live the rest of their lives. Hence, some Asians frown upon the thought of leaving their parents in a nursing home. They think sending them off to such a place makes them ungrateful children because they should be the ones taking care of their parents instead of strangers. By taking them into their own homes, they return the favor their parents have given to them growing up.
But in the U.S., senior adults have a different mindset. Many still prefer to age in place, but not to move in with their grown-up children. They don’t want to become a burden, so they insist on staying in their own homes, even if it means living alone.
However, many adults worry about their parents aging in place. Loneliness can be a tough enemy, making the elderly possibly spiral into depression. Safety hazards are another issue, with an elderly’s decreasing mobility. And most of all, adults fear that by living alone, their parents won’t be able to meet their healthcare needs, like 24/7 medical attention.
To ease these worries, adults consider assisted living for their aging parents. But discussing this topic is harder than many people think. Many senior adults value their independence, so they might take offense to the idea of having a caregiver to look out for them. But if they live with no one, how are they going to ensure their well-being? If they don’t want to live with their grown-up children, then they’d really have no one but themselves.
So, does that mean you should give in and let them have their way, or follow your instincts and persuade them to move into a reputable nursing home?
Misconceptions About Nursing Homes
A possible reason many seniors insist on aging in place is their misconceptions about nursing homes. While aging in place isn’t bad, it can be unsafe for the elderly with deteriorating health. If their homes haven’t been modified for their changing needs, they can really meet safety hazards around their place.
But moving in a nursing home doesn’t automatically indicate that they’re going senile. There’s a common misconception that nursing home residents are all very sick. That’s not true, because many seniors in such places are in fact alert and healthy, but have some physical issues. As such, they need someone to assist them in arduous activities, or to remind them of important tasks, like taking their medicines.
It’s also untrue that nursing home residents are in bed all day. Assisted living and nursing home care aren’t the same as being confined in a hospital. Elders under 24/7 care actually live happy, active lives. They can work hard and participate in fun activities and events. They enjoy many opportunities for socializing and traveling. Their caregivers also encourage them to move around and exercise. By making your parents understand these, they may become less hostile at the idea of moving out of their homes.
Besides, they can move out of the nursing home if their health and physical issues improve. Living in a nursing home or receiving at-home care can end. So, clear up all the misconceptions your parents may possess, and let them know that nursing home care is ultimately better for them.
Things to Consider Before Persuading Your Parents to Move Out
Not all seniors require 24/7 care, even if their mobility has decreased. They’d only require it when they start to pose a danger to themselves or to others. This often becomes the case if their cognitive abilities have deteriorated. For example, if they start to show signs of dementia, they may forget to take care of themselves, making them at risk for aggravated health issues and injuries. Dementia can also cause behavioral changes, like restlessness, waking up at night, shouting and screaming, and accusing. If your parent exhibits these behaviors, they would be safer with a healthcare professional looking after them.
Assisted living or nursing home care is also suitable for seniors experiencing difficulties in performing day-to-day tasks, like chores. If they can no longer cook, bathe, and clean their house without help, assisted living services can lift their burdens off of them. Nursing home care, on the other hand, will let them stay active while receiving continuous health monitoring.
Note that the benefits of assisted living or nursing home care wouldn’t make moving out any easier for your parents. It’s hard to leave the place you’ve grown attached to. To many seniors, their homes hold precious memories and sentimental value. So instead of focusing on their issues, try to encourage them to take care of their health instead, and to listen to their caregivers, so that they can go back to their homes as soon as possible. By placing more importance on their happiness than your own worries, your parents will never think you ungrateful. Just remind them that you only want them to be safe, healthy, and living a long life.