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Family 411: Discussing assisted living for seniors

Talking about assisted living for parents (WSYX)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX) - One of the toughest decisions families face is how to decide if it's time for aging parents to move out of their current home. Recognizing when your loved one should no longer be living on their own can be tough.

Tiffany Kroeger says her parents owned a business and were active in their community. So, it was an adjustment for Tiffany to consider helping them move to assisted living. Safety was the number one concern. "We kinda noticed that maybe the house wasn't as clean as it was. They were both losing weight. Didn't see their friends as often."

Assisted living can be a great step for seniors who need more socialization and help with daily needs than the family can provide at home.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than seventy percent of Americans over 65 will need long-term care services at some point in their lives. 72-year-old Jean is one of them.

Jean and her friends, who doctors say are in need of memory care, now share stories and giggle as they call themselves "The Golden Girls."

Dr. Don Mack is a geriatrics expert who says about 20 percent of seniors ask him about moving to assisted living, but some families find their loved ones will resist leaving their home, "particularly as people get older they lose their ability to adjust to new environments."

Dr. Mack says many times children feel guilty about the need to transition their parents to assisted living. Mack says it's like the airlines instructing passengers. "Put on your oxygen mask first, then help others around you, if you don't have oxygen the ones around you aren't going to get what they need either."

Tiffany suggests families do their homework on facilities. Talk with other residents and meet with the leadership team to discuss core values. "Get to know the people that are taking care of your loved ones and be an advocate for them."

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