I get so many calls from family members on how to “convince” their family members they need assisted living. This is probably one of the most agonizing situations children go through. I went through the same issues with my in-laws some years ago.
We were lucky that my mother-in-law was an extremely social person and looked forward to moving to an assisted living community. She and my father-in-law had become so isolated, living in a rural community. My father-in-law, a retired farmer, was bent on staying on the farm but life on the farm had become anything but laid back. He had experienced a pretty bad fall and my mother-in-law had called me to help her get him up. She, because she was in a wheelchair, was fairly immobile and unable to go for help. So, she called me. It was then I suggested to my husband it was time to start thinking about assisted living before the situation became any worse.
My husband met with his siblings and a plan of action was formulated. They decided since they knew there would be resistance from their father, they would tell him this was for his own good. They reassured him they loved him and felt this move was in his best interest. They tried to be very empathetic and let him know they understood this was a very difficult move but one they felt was the only option at this point.
The move was made and it wasn’t long before Anita and Hilmar made friends and became involved in the activities at Argent Court Seguin. Anita was able to socialize with other friends and quickly became entrenched in the community. Hilmar, being a good German, enjoyed the musical entertainment and the beer during happy hour on Fridays. The move was not easy. It never is easy when a person has to admit they need help and are losing their independence.
When families have to start making decisions on behalf of their parents, I relate to them it is like raising teenagers. As teenagers, we think we know everything but our judgment is skewed – now the tables have turned and as their children we now are in a position of caretaker. We in essence become the parents and have to make decisions on their behalf because their judgment isn’t what it needs to be. This leads to much trepidation and anxiety because it doesn’t feel like the natural order of things. These are all normal emotions at a time like this.
Cathy Boenig is Regional Director for Argent Court.