Overcoming Cultural Norms: Moving to Assisted Living
According to the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living, more than 800,000 Americans are residents in assisted living communities (the majority of them being age 85 and older, female, and non-Hispanic white).
On the contrary, as a community that is based in El Paso, Texas, our resident demographic consists of a large Hispanic population. With that being said, many of the families who visit us are curious about the care we offer; although, sometimes many are still unsettled by the idea of considering residential care for mom or dad.
While doing this can make life easier for caregivers and their recipients, many of the Hispanic families we meet in our community still hold onto tradition. This means taking care of mom and dad (or abuela and abuelito) in their own home.
If you are in the same tough spot, you might be thinking, “How can I even begin to talk with mom and dad about transitioning to assisted living? Will they feel abandoned? How will they feel connected to their culture and heritage if they are living in a community without their family?”
Today, take a few minutes to read this blog and understand why moving your parent to an assisted living residence could not only benefit them, but it could also benefit you and the rest of your family. You might be surprised to see that you can overcome the tradition of caring for your parent on your own. Also, you can continue to encourage your parent to still feel connected to their culture and heritage even if they transition to a new home.
Here are 3 things to remember:
1. Putting your parent into an assisted living community might be the best way to support their needs. Doing this does not mean that you have failed as a caregiver.
Culturally, for many Hispanic families, the children are expected to look after the parents as they continue to age and require certain assistance on a daily basis (activities of daily living). Consequently, it may be frowned upon for children to seek out assisted living services for a parent.
If you are experiencing this same dilemma, think about your situation like this: It is okay to want to take care of your parent at home, but you cannot do everything on your own. If you are a parent yourself, this may resonate even more with you.
It might be manageable for you to get your parent ready for the day, go to work, take them to doctor’s appointments, cook dinner, wash clothes, tidy up around the house, and try to squeeze in time with your kids. However, you may not be able to realistically continue with this routine as time goes on, especially if your parent’s health begins to decline rapidly.
Know that 80% of older adults have at least one chronic disease. If your parent suffers from one, think about how you will be able to care for them in the future. Will personal care services be enough? Will you be able to manage the rest on your own? If the answer is no, then you may want to consider residential care, even if you are used to the culture of taking care of your parent.
Also, do not wait until the last minute to decide if assisted living is the right choice for your parent. Start thinking about it now and looking for communities that you think would best suit your parent’s needs. And remember not to feel guilty about this! You are not failing at your job as a family caregiver; rather, you might be helping your parent in more ways than you know.
2. Your parent will be able to enjoy more time with family—and you can enjoy more quality time with your parent.
Reading the above sentence, you may be confused about the logic behind this. After all, how can your parent enjoy more time with family and their social group if they are away from them in an assisted living residence? In this case, it all depends on your perspective.
Because your parent would be receiving the care they need in a community, you would not need to worry about caring for them on your own, which can be a time-consuming and difficult task. With help from the staff in an assisted living community, your parent’s needs will always be met, and family members and friends can easily visit. They can even celebrate holidays and other special occasions with your parent, bringing a piece of their heritage with them into the community.
In addition, you will be able to spend quality time with your parent that you may be lacking right now. With all of the caregiving responsibilities you take on every day, you may begin to forget to spend real one-on-one time with them, such as sitting down to eat a meal together or watching a favorite movie with them on the weekends.
As a resident of an assisted living community, your parent will be taken care of so that you do not have to worry about anything. Instead, you are able to cherish the little moments in life with them.
3. Moving your parent to assisted living will give you more time to look after yourself.
Here are a few caregiver facts: At least 20% of adult children take care of an older parent, and almost half of caregivers have difficulties balancing work and caregiving. Also, depression affects 20 to 40% of all caregivers (AgingInPlace).
Do these statistics shock you? They are concerning, to say the least.
Caregiving is anything but easy. Many family caregivers tend to their parent’s needs after coming home from work, picking the kids up from school, or even trying to get an education themselves. At the end of the day, there is often little time left for caregivers to care for themselves.
This is why transitioning your parent to an assisted living residence could benefit you (which is the last person you’re probably thinking about right now). With help from others, you will be able to look after your physical and mental well-being. The community you choose might even offer caregiver support groups and other caregiving resources for those in need.
Remember that without taking care of yourself, you can never properly take care of others. After all, you cannot experience quality time with your parent if you are constantly physically and emotionally exhausted.
Take one day at a time
It is understandable if it is challenging for you to even contemplate moving your parent to an assisted living community. However, consider the points we have discussed above, and try to think about what matters most. Comment your thoughts below.
If you are interested in learning how we can make life easier for you and your parent with help from our community, contact Royal Estates of El Paso today for a consultation or a tour.