Broaching the topic of your future care with adult children can be awkward and difficult for both parties. Each may feel a bit of denial about the realities of aging. For the elder loved one, it’s that they are no longer as independent as they’ve always been or considered themselves to be, and for the adult children, it’s that their parents still exist in their minds as strong, self-reliant figures, and this image is being turned on its head.
Here are some topics to touch on with your children when you decide it’s time to share your thoughts about your future care.
Educate your children on the reality of the current state of your health and what you know about the trajectory of your health in the near future. Perhaps you are still in good health but are planning for the future. However, if your health or independence has begun to decline, this may be a good time to share it, especially if it could be hereditary. It can be jarring to learn that a parent is no longer completely healthy, so make sure the conversation is open, answer any questions, and consider providing resources for your children to learn more.
If you have already made arrangements to move into a retirement community or even an assisted living community, tell your children about how and when you came to this decision. Keep in mind: They may be blindsided but also potentially pleased by aspects of the conversation, including the idea that they will not be your caretaker as they may have anticipated. Share informational materials about the community with them and let them know why you are excited about this place. This move could alter how you currently spend time with your family, so discuss how visiting will work now. Let them know that this decision will free the family up to focus on the most important things without having to worry about potential care needs. If you haven’t yet made solid plans, ask your children for their opinions and ideas about your future care.
Future Care Wishes:
This can be a hard conversation to have, but it is important to discuss end-of-life choices and other related official matters. Discuss long-term care, your will (if this applies), and how to handle medical decisions if it becomes pertinent. Again, this can be a delicate topic for adult children to discuss with their parents, so keep the conversation light and candid. Let them know that you are not discussing this because it is relevant at the current moment, but because it is relevant for your future as you plan out your aging process.
We want your family to be a part of the most important conversation; your future! Our team is happy to discuss with you and your loved ones the details of your plan for successful aging at Beatitudes and are happy to provide resources, such as brochures, pricing, services and amenities. We would be delighted to give your family a virtual tour of our campus and your potential new home.
To learn more about your vibrant senior living options at Beatitudes Campus, call us today at 602.883.1358 or contact us online at BeatitudesCampus.org.
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At Beatitudes Campus, we’re leading the way in memory care and support. But, it hasn’t always been that way. Like so many other places, we took a traditional medical approach focused on organizational goals rather than each individual’s routines and preferences.
That all changed in 1997 when a team of caregivers at Beatitudes Campus began a multi-year journey of researching and developing Comfort Matters®, an innovative, person-centered way of supporting those who have trouble thinking.
“Advocacy and social justice are fundamental principles of Beatitudes Campus because of our roots in the United Church of Christ. We started with those commitments and beliefs,” explained Tena Alonzo, Director of Education and Research and Director of Comfort Matters at Beatitudes during an interview with ACCESS Health International, a healthcare think tank and advisory group.
In working with health experts around the country, what they learned changed everything about how to support people with dementia.
“We discovered that we didn’t know much about taking care of people with dementia. It took time to develop the culture, policies, and procedures to become as radically person-centered as we are today. It was a labor of love for everyone.”
Taking A Holistic Approach That Respects Autonomy
Tena and her team, which included Karen Mitchell, Registered Nurse and Comfort Matters Educator, realized that engagement, autonomy, and choice bore huge benefits for individuals with dementia—as they do for all people.
“If we can help people sleep when they are tired, they can wake refreshed and more often be their best selves. If people can eat what they want when they want—day or night, they tend to be healthier, happier, and live longer. If they’re able to enjoy their favorite and familiar activities, they feel content and calm,” said Alonzo.
The team found that caregiving in such a holistic way dramatically reduces the number of medications, which in turn reduces side effects and helps people feel better overall. With Comfort Matters, individuals experience lower rates of incontinence, less sundowning, and decreased hospitalizations. The Beatitudes Campus staff is happier, too. Less employee turnover means more continuity of care and more familiar faces for residents—a win-win for everyone.
Truly Knowing Each Person
The concept of serving people in such a profound way that respects their personal attachments to routines and preferences and honors the individual and their life experience became the mission. To make it happen, the team upended and recreated the existing care model that had been ingrained in society for 100 years. They pressed forward, educating and collaborating with Beatitudes Campus management and staff, doctors, regulatory agencies, and families.
Today, the entire Beatitudes Campus staff is empowered to engage and provide comfort to residents. From housekeepers and maintenance crews to the nurses and everyday caregivers, every single person is encouraged to be innovators and share ideas so we can all meet residents where they are.
With families as our partners, we can be better caregivers and help guide and educate families through this time, according to Alonzo. Because we see dementia in a different way, everyone—families, staff, and other residents on campus—feel more empowered and less afraid.
Translating What We Learned Into A Dementia-Friendly Place To Live
Beatitudes Campus serves people with all levels of physical and cognitive ability. Some live in their own apartment or patio homes while others live in suites designed for skilled nursing care, memory support, or assisted living. Because we care and respect each other, you’ll find residents of all abilities laughing and enjoying time together—eating lunch, putting on the miniature green, tapping their toes to a musical performance, and more.
Hard work, unyielding devotion, and the willingness to innovate—that’s how Beatitudes Campus transformed into a dementia-friendly community, and why we’re different.
“Most residents have 65 or more years of life behind them. We honor that person because of their life experience,” said Alonzo. “We must have a culture that allows people to be themselves. That is the heart of person-directed living.”
Here, you can read more about Tena Alonzo and her team’s innovative approach to helping people live with dementia. To learn more about Beatitudes Campus’ extraordinary memory support options, call us today at (602) 833-1358 or submit a contact form on our website.