Courtesy of Elderwood

If you have parents who are aging, you may have noticed some changes when you visit. That once manicured lawn may be a bit overgrown, or the dishes have piled up. Maybe there’s a stack of unopened mail or outdated food in the refrigerator. These are just a few of the signs of physical or cognitive decline in older adults. Other signs are changes in appearance, an uncharacteristically messy home, and missed medications.

“One of the first signs that someone needs to be in a more supervised setting is disregard for hygiene, clean clothing, and even dressing appropriately for the weather,” says Patricia Schoch, regional registered nurse for Elderwood.

Many adult children, who comprise the sandwich generation, step in to help out with housekeeping, dressing, bathing, medication management, and transportation to doctors’ appointments. Often, they find themselves overwhelmingly stressed from managing two households while pursuing their careers.

Having a conversation with loved ones about a move to a senior care community is often difficult, but it’s just another step in a life full of transitions. Even if it isn’t time yet to make a change, knowing when and how to talk about it is important. Here are some tips that can make it easier.

Listen. The last thing you want is for your parent to feel that their fears and frustrations don’t

matter. Listen, but also let them know your concerns about their ability to live alone. Remember, it may take many conversations, so be patient.

Plant the seed. Find times to casually mention the idea of senior living. For example, reference a friend’s or coworker’s parent who is very happy for having done so.

Hold a family meeting. Before raising the topic of senior living to a loved one, all adult children must agree. Realize that siblings who live out of town may not realize the seriousness of the situation. Be prepared to offer specific examples regarding the struggle your parent may be having with daily activities.

The COVID-19 pandemic delayed many plans for loved ones. Now, months later, effective vaccines and waning restrictions have resulted in families feeling more ready to make a change to keep their loved ones safe.

“We are seeing a significant uptick in inquiries and tours,” said Brenda West, Director of

Operations for Elderwood’s assisted living communities. “The pandemic was particularly

challenging as families struggled early on managing their own fears of COVID, while caring for family members. Now, we are seeing families explore solutions to ease the burden and stress of managing it all to keep everyone safe.”

Elderwood offers an array of senior care options throughout Western New York, including assisted living and adult home communities. Each facility has been designed to provide a warm, safe, and caring environment staffed by highly skilled professionals. Programs, activities, and amenities are designed to enrich residents’ lives and provide them with the specific levels of care they require. Understanding that families have many questions, we are happy to help guide you through the process with understanding and compassion. Learn more at