Assisted living for mom improves the quality of life for ALL of us

So often I have discussed the benefits for those moving to a senior apartment or community. Now it is time to discuss not only the older adult who moves from their long time home, but the supporting loved ones who are affected by this transition.

Family relationships are complex due to different personalities, age group, and gender offering multiple perspectives on every issue affecting loved ones. When a member of this group is in transition for whatever reason, all who truly care for that family member are impacted. So often I hear a senior tell me that they are getting advice from children and friends which they may or may not agree with. The decision for an older adult to move from a home they have known for so many years is a decision that is made after much thought from not just the senior moving but from input from their trusted advisers.

When an older adult is living in a home that no longer meets their needs, the advice starts pouring in from a daughter, son, or friend. This advice to make a change is hard to digest for the person who should make that change to healthier surroundings. Anger or frustration can result from a reluctance to face the current situation. That may be followed by procrastination and excuses why a move is “just too much” at this time, putting a decision off to some future date. The family is then impacted with frustration and worry and sometimes anger. This can cause upset to the entire family and relationships can suffer as family members want a solution but have differing ideas and time frames for this move.

I received a note from a professional who had given a talk at a senior community for families working with their loved ones who are thinking of a move for mom or dad. She was kind enough to share the following letter she received with the intent to help you, the reader who may be in a similar situation. Here is a portion of that letter:

In terms of the gifts we receive through this process, one of the greatest gifts for me has been the incredible appreciation  I feel for those who support me! My husband, brother, niece, and sister-in-law have been nothing short of amazing, and my relationship with each of them has deepened as a result. I appreciate them so much! I realize this isn’t always the case within families – that it very often goes the other way – so for that, too, I feel a deep appreciation.

The other point I would emphasize is how much moving my Mom into an assisted living facility has improved the quality of life for ALL of us. Our stress levels have plummeted. While there is still a level of stress, frustration, anger and sadness, it doesn’t compare to the level it was at prior to that. My hair had started falling out so I knew I was stressed, but I didn’t realize how much until my dentist showed me the pictures they took of the inside of my mouth during a routine dental appointment. I had been chewing the insides of my cheeks so badly during sleep that I created lines of scar tissue on both sides. That was my tipping point. I knew we needed to make a positive change, not just for my Mom, but for my health as well.

Since moving her into assisted living in October, I don’t have to be JUST the frustrated caregiver any longer. I can now enjoy being her daughter again, which hadn’t happened for the past three years. In addition, SHE is now getting the appropriate care she should have been getting for those three years, with proper meds administration being key.

This letter explains the stress of a family member who didn’t realize the impact until a solution had been attained. We live with worry and fear for our loved ones and that stress can become part of our everyday lives. When a move was made and her mom was in a healthy environment, the entire family experienced relief, happiness and a much reduced stress level. The true gift was that all involved found a deeper relationship with one another. That is what life is about…giving to others unconditionally.

My hope is that if you or a family member is living in a home that no longer meets your needs; know that you are not alone with your worry and fear of the unknown. You and your loved ones will share your journey to a new lifestyle. You will all experience change in your own personal way, but in the end it is the well-being of your loved one that counts. Once a move is made to a safe and healthy home, relief and happiness will be the result for not just the one making the move but by all who are connected by love. That is what family is about!

Reprinted with permission from Bruce Nimovitz