One of the most difficult decisions you’ll make in life is choosing a senior living or care provider for a loved one.
In this resource guide, you’ll find practical tools for evaluating options, advice on knowing when “it’s time,” and encouragement for what can be a lengthy and trying process.
Managing Difficult Emotions Around Senior Care
Making the decision about senior living or in-home care is tricky and fraught with emotion. Here are some common contributors to the stress that many caregivers experience during this time:
- You’ve witnessed a decline in your loved one’s health.
- You see them struggling to maintain independence after they’ve lost a spouse or partner.
- You’re feeling the strain of balancing your career and family with being a caregiver.
- Your siblings or other family members may not agree with your decisions or even push back on them.
- Your parent or relative may not be a “loved one,” or you have a strained relationship with them.
- They are unwilling to accept help.
If you’ve been the primary caregiver for a parent or older relative, you’re probably also wrestling with guilt, grief, feelings of inadequacy or even burnout—especially if you’ve been caring for the person for a long time.
It’s important to be aware of—and process—the complicated feelings and emotions that shape this entire experience. Talk to a trusted friend, relative, mentor or therapist. Seek a support group online or in-person. Learn from others who’ve gone through something similar. Know that it’s normal to be feeling this way about such a life-changing decision, as its impact touches you, your loved one and your family.
10 Signs Your Loved One Needs Support
Aside from the emotions on your end, keep an eye out for the things that may signal a parent or relative’s need for support. Sometimes the signs are subtle; sometimes they are quite obvious.
- Piles of unopened mail or unpaid bills
- Piles of laundry (clean/dirty)
- Failure to take required medications or seek medical help
- A poorly stocked refrigerator or pantry, including a number of expired or spoiled items
- Dirty dishes in the sink
- An unkempt appearance or body odor
- Comments about isolation or loneliness
- Mood swings
- Personality changes
- A change in sleep patterns (how often they sleep, what time they wake, etc.)
For the skeptical siblings or family members who aren’t involved with helping on a regular basis, sharing these concrete red flags may help them understand why you’re concerned. Or, if you’re feeling guilty about considering care, seeing these signs may be the affirmation you need to take that next step.