Old age comes for us all if we’re lucky. Many older adults experience an eventual decline in their ability to take care of their daily living needs. For some adults, the feeling of lost independence triggers new and perhaps unexpected emotions that can make the conversation around care tricky for everyone involved. Whether your loved one is showing signs of dementia or needs help with personal care, admitting these things can be tough for everyone involved.
At Daystar Retirement Village in West Seattle, we have walked this path with many clients and their families. Every person has a unique profile of needs and skills, but many common themes emerge. We’re happy to use our experience to smooth your road ahead. We hope to see you along the way!
How Do You Help Your Senior Parent Accept Help?
When your aging loved one shows signs that they can no longer care for themselves, many people find themselves with brand new questions and challenges. This is seldom easy, but there are ways to help the conversation run as smoothly and productively as possible.
1. Make Room for Feelings
Seniors have often been doing things their own way for decades on end. Most of us don’t like change and aren’t happy when big adjustments are necessary. Admitting the need for help might mean letting go of independence and routines that will not return. Resistance and grief under these circumstances are very normal and human.
2. Leave Something to Read Later
Seniors might benefit from materials that can be left to be perused over time. Try more general materials or some pamphlets from your local retirement communities or home health care agencies that focus on the benefits and services you are hoping to use.
3. Break Up the Conversation into Smaller Parts
Do not expect one long heart-to-heart to move mountains. Gently noting areas where support could be helpful may work wonders over time. “Wouldn’t it be nice to never do dishes again?” might get you further than you think.
4. Consult Key Stakeholders
Make sure that everyone involved in your loved one’s circle is on the same page. Have these conversations early to work together to agree on united messaging and work out disagreements behind the scenes.
5. Be Honest and Realistic About What You Can and Cannot Do
It is so easy to show up to support your aging parent at your own expense, and it is so easy for an aging parent to come to rely on whatever level of help their loved ones are currently providing. This can be a recipe for burnout and resentment. Be honest about what you can provide in both the short and long term
6. Focus On the Benefits
Adults living in a retirement community experience greater well-being and engagement. What chores would your loved one love to kiss goodbye? What activities available through senior living might spark their interest?
7. Find the Best Fit
It’s okay to shop around for the best solution for your situation. Every community and every home health care agency has its own personality. Does your loved one need the hustle and bustle? Are they looking for peace and serenity? Finding a care solution that matches your senior loved one’s needs and temperament can make a huge difference.
Who is Legally Responsible for Helping to Care for Aging Parents?
In Washington state, there is no legal requirement that adult children care for their parents, should they demonstrate the need for help in daily living (filial responsibility laws). The legal answer is quite simple in that regard.
However, various legal mechanisms, such as Power of Attorney documents, may designate individual decision-makers for different areas of life and outline the circumstances under which they take effect. If you anticipate that your senior loved one may require help in making medical, financial, or legally binding decisions, ensure that a Power of Attorney is in place.
Power Of Attorney documents are personalized and flexible, and cover various duties depending on needs and circumstances. POAs end when the principal passes away and do not cover the will of a deceased loved one. Seniors often have POAs that cover medical and financial matters separately.
1. Medical POAs
These include obvious ones such as surgical, hospital, specialist care, and medication. They also encompass psychiatric care and help with personal care. This person makes decisions regarding the need for residential or in-home care. Medical decisions may need to be made in consultation with the estate if the medical agent does not make the financial decisions
2. Financial POAs
Power of Attorney in financial matters can include government matters such as taxes, property/asset management, payment of debts, claims/litigation, insurance, and business management
Your senior loved one might have long-term benefits that are triggered under specific circumstances, such as demonstrated need in two areas of daily living. Find out more about any long-term benefits your senior loved one may have under such an insurance plan.
Providing Quality Support for Seniors in West Seattle
Here at Daystar Retirement, we are honored to partner with families in meeting our resident’s needs with quality care and attention in every domain of their lives! We’re committed to ensuring that our residents reap the positive rewards of connection and care available in our thriving community. Contact us to learn more about our senior apartments, independent living, assisted living, and respite care options and availability, or set up a tour today!