When aging parents or loved ones move into assisted living, memory care, or other types of senior living communities, they get the care and assistance they need. But their families often need support, too. From family support groups to involvement in creating care plans for aging parents, today’s senior living communities are providing a host of services that give adult children and family caregivers information, education, and opportunities to stay connected.
Family Support Before or During Your Senior Living Search
Family caregivers juggle a lot of responsibilities, which can lead to stress and caregiver burnout. Many senior communities offer resources that can help, such as:
- Dementia support groups for family members where you can meet with other caregivers who understand what you’re going through.
- Information and education about caregiving, additional resources and self-care.
- Respite stays to give caregivers a break while loved ones receive professional care.
Adult children and loved ones beginning the search for senior living options can find the process daunting. Where do you start? How do you decide which community is a good fit? Communities are making it easier to get answers to these types of questions.
- Check their websites for blog posts, FAQ pages, and other family resources. You can often find helpful information about the specific community, as well as general information about levels of care, downsizing, tips for navigating the process, and more. Some also have virtual tours so you can take a look at a community before deciding to visit.
- Schedule a personal appointment and tour. This lets you get answers to questions from knowledgeable professionals. They understand your concerns, and they have experience helping families make the decision to choose a community.
Help During the Transition
Once the decision to move into a community has been made, there’s a lot to do. And senior living communities want to make it as easy as possible for families to help their loved one make the transition smoothly.
- Some communities have transition planning tools to help you keep track of what needs to be done and when.
- Moving services are available with a wide range of assistance, from helping you stage and sell your loved one’s house to downsizing, packing, moving, and unpacking in the new residence. They can also help you determine which furniture and personal items will fit in the new space. Check with the community to see what in-house services they offer and which trusted third-party services they partner with.
Family Support After the Move
The staff and team members at senior living communities know how important it is for adult children and other loved ones to be part of a resident’s life and care. That’s why many make sure to not only encourage family involvement, but also offer additional support when it’s needed.
- When a care plan for aging parents or loved ones is needed, families are included in that process. As a family member, you know your loved one’s preferences and personality, so you can be part of shaping a plan designed just for them. If a care plan needs to be modified, family is included in that discussion as well.
- Communities want to keep the lines of communication open, so they may have newsletters, emails, and portals on the website to keep families informed about activities, programs, and community news. And as a primary contact for your loved one, you can be notified directly if a sudden need arises.
- Some communities offer family surveys to gather input on services and levels of care. Being part of that conversation allows you to have a voice and stay involved.
- Even when your loved one is receiving professional care, you’re still part of the caregiving team and may still struggle with how to best meet your loved one’s needs. You’ll find family support groups, dementia support groups for family members, support groups for spouses or adult children only, hospice support groups, and even programs that support grandchildren.
- Assisted living and memory care communities offer a plethora of activities and programs for residents — and families can participate in many of them. Find out when you can be part of the planned fun, whether it’s an organized family day, monthly birthday celebration, arts and crafts activity, or an outing to a favorite local spot. These are opportunities for you to stay connected with your loved one and see them enjoying themselves — which can do a lot for your own peace of mind.
Senior living communities know how important family is for the well-being of residents. So they’re ready to be there not just for your loved one, but for you as well. If you’d like to find out what kind of family support is available at a community near you, use the Find a Community Tool to get their contact information.
Where You Live Matters is powered by the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA), a respected voice in the senior housing industry. ASHA primarily focuses on legislative and regulatory advocacy, research, and educational opportunities and networking for senior living executives, so they can better understand the needs of older adults across the country.