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Caring for Aging Parents in 2020


July 02, 2020

Assisted Living

BY Alex Lynn

2020 has been a stressful year. If you're caring for aging parents or grandparents during these unusual times, the stress can quickly become overwhelming. It's even more stressful if you're a member of the "Sandwich Generation" tasked with caring for children, aging parents and earning a paycheck. The added struggles of social distancing and isolation issues make it even more challenging!

There is no shame in these feelings, and you are not alone. The team at Weatherly Inn understands. We're here to guide you through these unusual circumstances, as the nation begins to rebound from Coronavirus. 

  • If you're wondering if an independent living program or assisted care community is the right choice for your aging parent, grandparent or spouse during or after COVID-19, we'll answer your questions.
  • In light of COVID-19, Weatherly Inn is happy to go beyond a virtual tour. We can also offer you a no-cost, no-commitment consultation, to help you understand which eldercare option is best for your loved one. 
  • This article will provide you with a clearer understanding of aging at home versus aging in a retirement community, and what it might mean if your family member wants to "age in place." We'll cover different long-term care options and touch on some ways to pay for them. 

Ultimately, our goal is to help you choose the right situation for your family member  during or after the COVID-19 crisis. If you need more information after reading this article, don't hesitate to reach out

Caring for an Aging Parent at Home / "Aging in Place"

It makes sense that many seniors are reluctant to leave their homes. They have worked hard for their home and their belongings, and they may have close social ties to the neighborhood. But looking closer, we notice that seniors with mobility issues, hearing or vision challenges feel comfortable "knowing their way" around the home. Your aging parent might be intimidated by the idea of moving.

But caring for an aging parent can become complicated when your family member needs help preparing meals, eating, managing their medications and taking a shower. 

Does Your Aging Parent Need Help with Activities of Daily Living?

Activities of daily living (ADLs) are the routine activities people do every day. There are six basic ADLs:

  • Eating
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Toileting
  • Continence
  • And Transferring (like getting in and out of bed, or into a car)

If your aging parent needs help with one or more of these tasks daily, they'll probably appreciate the professional assistance they'd receive in an elder care community. We should point out there are other signs your aging parent needs extra help. If your loved one is falling — or has mysterious bruises — they might need more assistance. 

But the transition into an independent living community or assisted living community can seem daunting. If your loved one is resistant to the idea, or if you need help talking to your aging parent, we've written an article that can help. 

Transitioning to an Independent Living Community

The best independent living communities provide your aging parent with a vibrant social life, special events and outstanding dining. These situations are ideal for seniors who are proud of their independence and mobile.

  • Let staff worry about housekeeping, transportation to doctor appointments and medication management, while your loved one enjoys an independent lifestyle with their peers. 

If your family member needs more help with their daily living activities, they may need more comprehensive care.

Transitioning to an Assisted Living Community

Assisted living communities might be the next step in your loved one's journey if they need more thorough daily care. Caring for an aging parent at home becomes incredibly difficult if they need help eating every meal, bathing themselves and dressing every day. The best assisted living homes have nurses on payroll and regular physician visits. 

We should point out that eldercare has come a long way in the last decades, and many folks have outdated notions of what happens in a retirement community or nursing home. 

Transitioning to Nursing Homes 

We think this caregiver training blog says it best: "All nursing homes are not created equal. Finding the right one is a huge factor in helping aging loved ones adjust. Do your research, visit prospective facilities, and talk to staff and administrators about everything from what residents are allowed to bring... to the types of meals offered and how they're served."

The key takeaway here is that regardless of the level of care your aging family member may need, the adult child / caregiver must be involved while making a choice. It's also important that your loved one has a voice in the matter. So take your time. Look at several websites and brochures. And spend some time that the retirement home / nursing home facility before making a choice. 

Caring for Aging Parents: What to Look For in a Senior Living Community or Nursing Home

We always recommend that the caregiver and aging parent sit down for a meal, and take a close look at the other seniors.

  • Do they seem happy about the meal and engaged?
  • Is everyone enjoying the food?
  • Can the staff meet particular expectations for seniors with nutrition issues or diabetes?
  • After mealtime, have the residents finished their meal?

It's also essential that the other seniors are going outside whenever possible. COVID-19 has driven home the importance of outdoor activity, fresh air, and sunshine on everyone's well-being, especially the elderly. So be sure to talk to staff and other residents about their outdoor activities and how much time residents can spend outside. 

We know the indoor isolation issues caused by COVID-19 could lead the elderly down a path of depression, weight loss, and appetite problems. Any senior living situation must address these issues with plenty of outdoor activity, appropriate for your family member's physical ability. 

  • Ultimately, no matter which level of elder care your aging parent needs, spend a few hours at the home, personally. 

After that, it's time to talk about finances. 

Funding Senior Care in Washington

Let's be frank. Outstanding elder care is not cheap elder care. We understand that cost can be a significant factor in your choice in a senior care situation. That's why we're always direct about costs, and offer financial consulting for families. You should never be surprised by the bill for long term care. 

We've explored the financial aspects of funding care for your aging parents in-depth here

You do have financial options available like:

  • VA Benefits for Veterans
  • Reverse Mortgages
  • Federal Long-term Care Insurance
  • Private Funding
  • Medicare and Medicaid

Your senior loved one may be able to receive funds to offset the costs of long term care in Washington. Check out our Senior Living Financial Comparison Planner. You'll have a better understanding of the expenses and savings of long term care, and compare aging in place to life in a retirement community. You might be surprised at the savings!

We hope you've enjoyed our article about caring for aging parents in 2020. We sure enjoyed writing it! If you'd like to know more about any of our senior living options in Tacoma, Kent or Renton, let's talk!


Related Reading & Resources:

Athenahealth.com: 3-Minute Case Study: Better Daily Living for Elders

Investopedia.com: Actividites of Daily Living (ADL)

Aginginplace.org: A Guide to Caring for Elderly Parents