4 Ways Assisted Living Helps Adult Children of Aging Parents

They tuck you in at night, help you with your homework, drive you to practices or recitals and offer love and support along the way. Parents are always there — one reason grown children feel the need so strongly to return the favor as Mom or Dad grows older and requires a more attentive level of care.

It can be a stressful experience, especially if there’s geographic distance involved, or a parent is dealing with cognitive issues. With Over 38 years working in retirement communities, Patty Scotten has partnered with many grown children dealing with that same situation — and is often able to ease their minds by presenting the prospect of assisted living.

We provide them with factual material and show statistics on how people who do make the move tend to be happier,” says Scotten, director of marketing and development for Liberty Senior Living, which manages South Bay at Mount Pleasant. “We show them And give them emotional support for this important decision.”

A 2018 study conducted by Northwestern University, in conjunction with a Chicago nonprofit, surveyed residents of continuing care retirement communities across 29 states, and found they enjoyed greater life satisfaction, less stress, greater emotional wellness and healthier social lives. And numerous studies show that assisted living can protect seniors against the isolation that can severely impact quality of life.

The prospect of assisted living can give pause to those who remember the stark facilities of decades ago. But the assisted living community at Shem Creek Health Center at South Bay, scheduled to open in late June, is worlds away — with luxurious apartments, high-quality fixtures, and bright and inviting common areas.

Here are four more reasons why choosing assisted living at a property like Shem Creek Health Center at South Bay can benefit both aging parents and the grown children who love them.

1. It eases any geographic barriers.

Adult children want their parents to be happy and safe, but that can be difficult to ensure if Mom or Dad lives hundreds of miles away. Such geographic distance can turn visits into long lists of tasks that need to be done, with grown children running errands for their parents rather than enjoying quality time.

Not so in assisted living, where the necessities are covered. “You can hire out somebody to do the laundry, cook, refill prescriptions, all of that. But you can’t hire out being a daughter or a son,” Scotten says. “When you come to visit your mom and dad, you need not to be a task monger — you want that quality time. And that’s especially relevant to people who are out of town.”

2. It allows time for your life.

In many families today, both parents work. Adult children may have their own kids, in high school or college, and plenty going on within their own family. In that environment, trying to care for aging parents can leave adult children fraught with second-guessing over whether they’re paying enough attention to Mom and Dad, or even their own kids.

Assisted living in a community like Shem Creek Health Center at South Bay allows professionals to assume that caretaker role. “Your mom or dad are going to get what they need and more in assisted living. That’s from the perspective of an adult child trying to piece together their own life, while at the same time providing for someone they really want to take care of,” Scotten says. “This isn’t about mom or dad being a burden — think of it as, what’s the right environment for mom or dad to be the happiest they can be?”

3. It increases socialization.

Among the elderly, isolation can be a silent killer. A 2014 University of Chicago study linked isolation to maladies including anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s, and even death. Those who find themselves unexpectedly alone, such as after the death of a spouse, are particularly at risk.

The negative effects of isolation may be so gradual, adult children may not recognize them. In an assisted living community like Shem Creek Health Center at South Bay, “they’re surrounded by peers,” Scotten says. “When an individual enters assisted living, their own life is validated, because they’re like everyone around them. It’s not about just having the essentials taken care of — it’s having an environment in which they can thrive.”

4. Memory care services are available.

For adult children, cognitive difficulties can add another layer of uncertainty to caring for aging parents. “Children really worry about their parents’ safety, wandering, and administering the wrong medication,” Scotten says. “You notice mom is losing weight, just forgetting to eat. Adult children worry because they see these things.”

Memory Support available in Shem Creek Health Center at South Bay’s assisted living community is staffed with professionals who can help emphasize the strengths and supplement the challenges of those with cognitive disorders. “The staff is trained specifically to concentrate on capabilities,” Scotten says, “and that helps residents feel good about themselves.”

Interested in assisted living options for your aging parents? Contact Shem Creek Health Center at South Bay at Mount Pleasant at (843) 936-2800, schedule an appointment to visit the community at 1400 Liberty Midtown Drive, fill out their online contact form or visit their website at SouthBayAtMountPleasant.com.