Families find themselves searching their hearts and souls to find the right answer about the realties of aging parents. It requires adult children to shift their viewpoint not only of their parents, but also of themselves.
Fragility and cognitive changes, even at minimal levels, can be disconcerting. Forgetting appointments, bills piling up, mobility changes, and a reduction in reaction time while driving, are all signs that important changes are happening. When these or similar behaviors are observed, it requires families to stop and wonder what we can do to protect our parents.
In a world that resists, ignores, and even loathes aging, we often find ourselves unprepared to deal with this change. Often, families are amazed by the impact it makes on them emotionally, financially, and socially. It almost leaves us searching for a book called Parent Care for Dummies.
Making good decisions often requires a new set of skills, language, technical knowledge, and even a new picture of ourselves.
Learning about the spectrum of senior living, and care options, is a good first step. From senior apartments with no services, to 24-hour assistance, or even skilled nursing, families have so many more options than they did 25 years ago. With so many choices available, its easy to wonder where each parent would flourish.
Change is hard for all of us. Yet most seniors adjust fairly quickly and often admit they should have made the change long ago. So when families feel guilty and confused during the process, stay confident that better days are ahead.