Have you noticed your parents becoming more reticent about their health or how things are going at home as they get older? If your questions are met with vague responses or a sudden change in subject, you may want to take a closer look at the reasons why.
A Few Things Your Parents Might Need Help With
Older adults living at home alone may begin to have difficulty keeping up with household responsibilities as they age, such as managing their finances, personal care or daily tasks. Some of these may include:
- Home maintenance
- Bathing and dressing
- Paying bills on time
- Grooming and hygiene
- Managing medications
- Shopping and preparing meals
Why Your Parents May Not Ask For Help
Older adults may be hesitant to reach out for assistance or to let family members know that daily life is becoming more of a challenge. Here are a few of the more common reasons:
- They don’t want to admit things have changed
Time has a way of catching us all by surprise. Your parents might be having a hard time recognizing (and accepting) that they aren’t able to do everything they once could.
- They’ve always been self-reliant
If your parents pride themselves on taking care of things on their own, it can be very difficult for them to reach out and ask for help. They might be aware that help is needed, and even want it, but may not be comfortable asking for it or relying on others.
- They don’t want to bother their children
For many parents, the last thing they want to do is become a burden on their children or disrupt their lives. They may also not want their children to see them as dependent on them. Most older parents are very aware of the possibility of the parent-child roles changing, and will often strongly guard against that.
- They may fear they’ll lose their independence
No one wants to lose their voice or choice in how to live their life. Your parents may worry that asking for help will result in them losing the ability to make decisions about their own lives.
- They fear “setting the wheels in motion”
Some parents admit they don’t disclose concerns with their children because they’re afraid it will start conversations they aren’t comfortable having. They may fear that sharing any struggles will lead to discussions about no longer being able to live alone, drive or manage their health.
How Adult Children Can Help Their Older Parents
- Be aware of changes
Time also has a way of sneaking up on adult children as well. Check in with your parents often, and keep an eye open for any changes around the house and in their overall quality of life. Is the house in need of repair? Are they struggling with laundry or housework? Are they cooking (and eating) healthy meals regularly
- Have relaxed, personal conversations early and often
Having ongoing conversations about growing older and some of the challenges that may arise can keep the doors of communication open. Talk about some of the changes other family members or friends encountered as they aged, and ask your parents to share their thoughts.
- Let them know you’re thinking of them
If you continue to get evasive answers when you ask how things are going, try to learn what you want to know another way. Simply let them know you care and are just checking in. Listen carefully to their answers and try to also hear what’s not being said. Do they sound and look well? Do they appear tired or anxious? Have you noticed any changes in mobility or memory?
- Offer to help them find solutions
Propose a partnership. Offer to brainstorm possible solutions to any challenges they may be facing. Don’t arrive with a decision already made or try tell them you know best. Remind them there are many potential options to solving a problem, and help them explore what might be most effective.
How an Assisted Living Community Can Help
If your parents are beginning to need more help than can be provided at home, assisted living could be the right answer. Quality of life may even improve with all a community has to offer - they’ll still have their own residence, make their own decisions and benefit from a lifestyle designed to their meet their needs and preferences.
If your parent needs help with daily personal care, such as bathing or dressing, it’s available, provided by trained, compassionate care partners. Adult children can simply be family members, rather than caregivers, knowing their loved one is being expertly cared for.
Assisted living communities provide fun activities and social events that create perfect opportunities for their residents to meet and make new friends. Many have fitness classes and wellness programs designed to help older adults optimize their health and well-being. These amenities and many others would be available within steps of your parents’ front door.
Other benefits include no more planning, preparing and shopping for food. Most assisted living communities have wonderful dining programs that feature fresh, creative cuisine specifically designed to meet the nutritional needs of older adults. Knowing they won’t have to worry about home maintenance or the housekeeping would allow them more free time to enjoy those things they love.
Life at Eskaton Communities
The word Eskaton means “dawn of a new day.” In our communities, we see each day as an opportunity to enhance the lives of our residents. We’ve been serving the Sacramento region and Northern California for over 50 years.
The Eskaton Difference starts with our life-enriching programs and collaborative partnerships. With a national reputation for innovation, we focus on creating communities that provide our residents everything they need for purposeful living. We invite you to visit one of our award-winning communities to discover some of the benefits we offer, such as:
- Private residences
- Delicious and nutritious meals
- Social opportunities to meet and make new friends
- Creative activities and therapies
- Fitness centers and exercise classes
- Housekeeping services
- Transportation services
- 24-hour staffing
- Free Wi-Fi
- And much, much more!
If you’re considering whether senior living could be the best choice for you or a loved one, we’re here to answer any questions that you may have. We also invite you to download our complimentary information, Family Decision Toolkit: How to choose the right senior living community.
To schedule a personalized tour, call us at 1-866-ESKATON (or 1-866-375-2866) or visit eskaton.org.