Respect, honor, and appreciation takes many forms: When the time comes to consider an extra measure of support

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Spring is in full swing, and there are many important occasions to observe over the next few weeks. Mother's Day will be celebrated on May 14, Older Americans Month is observed throughout May and Father's Day is June 20. What's important about each of these upcoming special occasions? Taking the time to respect, honor, and appreciate loved ones -- and that takes many forms.

Mother's and Father's Day

It's often said children don't genuinely appreciate the role of a parent until they become one themselves. However, everyone tends to gain wisdom as they age and experience life. Mother's and Father's Day are each a wonderful opportunity to stroll down memory lane and reflect on old times. It's also a chance to contemplate how the parent/child relationship changes over time and how parent/childcare roles can sometimes reverse.

Older Americans Month

Each May is a time to acknowledge the many contributions and achievements of older Americans, highlight important trends in the aging community and strengthen the country's commitment to honoring older adults. The 2023 theme of Older Americans Month is "Aging Unbound." It promotes the importance of older people enjoying their independence and being fulfilled by the path they pave as they age.

When the time comes

Sometimes, an older person may need additional care, often beginning with help completing daily tasks. Finding the right "extra set of hands" can be an overwhelming process for both the parent and adult child. It's important to remember every parent has a unique perspective and wishes regarding this type of transition. Adult children can support the process by sharing feedback from a place of love.

What to consider

Having a professional assist with this process is often helpful. This could be a medical provider or someone who knows the senior well. Understanding what type of supportive and clinical care is needed is also key. Should the older adult stop driving? Do they need help with meal preparation, cleaning, laundry, or small projects around the house? Often senior centers or elder services can make referrals to community-based resources that can help with these types of services.

Or maybe the senior is ready for an assisted living care option. If this is an appropriate choice, adult children will want to engage their loved one in a conversation that includes these topics:

-- Location -- Would you prefer living in the same area you have been living in? Would you like to move to be closer to family members and friends? Would an urban or rural area be a better fit for you?

-- Size -- Would you be more comfortable in a larger or smaller community? Keep in mind that larger communities sometimes offer additional amenities.

-- Clinical Needs -- Assisted living residents usually only need help with some daily tasks, like bathing and dressing and medication management -- they do not require skilled nursing care. What specific care or chronic health concerns must you keep in mind?

-- Continuum of Care Options -- Are you interested in a community that offers a variety of services and resources? Is there an option to move to a skilled or memory care unit if you need that kind of care?

-- Budget -- The cost of assisted living is often paid with personal funds. Are you clear on monthly rent and other fees? What is your expected contribution and any schedule of benefits you may receive?

-- Culture -- Have you toured communities you want to learn more about? Take time to meet with staff and other residents to understand activity schedules and observe interactions between them.

"Of course, it's essential to find high-quality, compassionate care," shares Nicole Breslin, board chair of LeadingAge Massachusetts and CEO and president, Youville House in Cambridge, Mass./Youville Place in Lexington, Mass. "However, it's also incredibly important that anyone transitioning to assisted living feel welcome and that their preferences are respected."

Families looking for assisted living, skilled nursing, including advanced memory care, and other senior care may wish to consider one of Covenant Health's senior care communities located in the Archdiocese of Boston:

-- Brockton -- St. Joseph Manor Health Care, 215 Thatcher Street --

-- Cambridge -- Youville House Assisted Living Residences, 1573 Cambridge Street --

-- Haverhill -- Penacook Place, 150 Water Street --

-- Lawrence -- Mary Immaculate Health/Care Services, 172 Lawrence Street --

-- Mary Immaculate Nursing and Restorative Center

-- Marguerite's House Assisted Living

-- Lexington -- Youville Place Assisted Living Residences, 10 Pelham Road --

-- Waltham -- Maristhill Nursing and Rehab Center, 66 Newton Street --