Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
SANDY -- While many people enjoy spending time with their loved ones over the holiday season, it's also the time more adult children consider moving their elderly parents into an assisted living center.
During the family visits, the children notice their parents aren't as able to live on their own as they were before. Atria Assisted Living Executive Director Ron Gardner said many people start scouting places their parents can go.
"You'll see an increase and that can carry into the next three months where people are really looking and try to find out an alternative solution for their parents," he said.
But how do you approach such a sensitive topic with you parents? Gardner said the discussion can be truly frightening. Seniors may ask themselves, "Will I lose my independence?"
"Often times, they've lived in a home for many years that they're very comfortable with and they don't want to give that up," he said.
Sadly, there is no 100 percent easy and enjoyable way to have this discussion. But Gardner says ignoring a person's possible diminished capacity as they get older is like ignoring an elephant in the room. So, adult children are just going to have to get tough.
Since so many elderly people are fearful of losing their independence and being moved into an "old folks home," Gardner said their children need to highlight all of the things they're doing just to let their parents live by themselves. Some elderly people need others to run errands for them or make sure they're taking their medications. He says parents need to learn that this kind of living scenario isn't really "independent" at all.
"Really, when they're at their home by themselves and they're not able to go to the stores and they're depending on somebody else to do it, they really don't have their freedom," Gardner pointed out.
He said many children will dismiss the problems their parents are going through until something bad happens, like an accident. Then, they'll visit an assisted living center without telling their loved ones. Gardner said it would be best if the children bring their parents with them so they can meet the staff and other residents living there.
"It's kind of like when you're a freshman in college," Gardner said. "You have somebody to show you the ropes and help you feel comfortable [so they think], ‘This isn't so scary. I have somebody I know.' They keep an eye out for you."
He said he's seen many cases where a quiet and reserved person can blossom inside an assisted living center after making new friends.