Caring for a senior is often no easy task. The emotional and physical demands that it can take on an individual (both caretaker and giver) can be great. Many times we are faced with the decision of whether to put a loved one into an assisted living retirement home. Although this decision may be the best for all parties, it is important to know that it will be emotionally taxing for everyone as well. When making the jump with a loved one into this situation there are a number of things to keep in mind.
1. Make sure that everyone in the family has a chance to address and clarify the way that they are feeling about the decision. This is not only a hard transition for one person–it usually weighs on everyone involved so its important to stay open.
2. Let it be. If your family member is upset by the move, allow them to feel the way that they do. Be there as a sounding board to absorb their frustrations. Sometimes its ok just to listen and empathize.
3. Make sure to reassure them of your presence in their life. Let them know that just because they will be living somewhere else, doesn’t also mean that they will lose you. They need this reassurance at this time.
4. Remain calm. Raised voices or outward displays of anger will only leave both parties feeling hurt. This is a highly emotional time for both of you; recognize it, but try not to let it enter the conversation.
5. Let them make decision that are important to them. Things like choosing the facility, their room, colors that will be in their room is very important for them to retain control over. This is a tough time for them in feeling loss of control. This will help.
6. Let them know calmly why this is the best decision for them practically. Try not to add an emotional element into the mix as it may lead you down a slippery slope. Stay positive and let them know all of the positives of their new life.
7. If you’re family member is having a difficult time accepting this decision, allow them time to absorb the news. You may also consider seeking professional help, such as a counselor or a senior moving specialist. Sometimes it helps to have a neutral outside party to talk to.
8. Don’t be hard on yourself; try not to feel bad about this decision. Be good to yourself and know that this is the best thing for the entire family. Dealing with your emotions outside of the decision will help ensure that your conversation remains calm and focused.