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Mary’s Corner: Neighbors are not Alternative Senior Living

Articles May 22nd, 2015

Neighbors are not alternative senior living. There are a lot of people whose elderly parents are in need of real caregivers, but the adult children assume their neighbors checking in on them is enough. It’s a pattern we see all too often. The sons and daughters of seniors call (sometimes a few times a day) to see if their parent is alright. If their elder doesn’t answer the phone, then the adult children call the neighbors to check up on them. This is not enough.

For the sake of argument, let’s say your parents’ neighbors are actually friends, people you trust wholeheartedly. Chances are, they’re not always going to be home to check up on your parent. This just means that if your parent doesn’t pick up and their neighbors don’t pick up, then you’re going to race down there to make sure everything is alright, only to find out that your dad is sitting in the den, watching TV (at deafening volumes) and the phone was left in the kitchen.

By the third or fourth time this happens, adult children get a wake-up call because, what if it wasn’t nothing? What if it was a fire because your father left the stove on? What if there was a robbery since the backdoor was left unlocked? From the neighbor’s house, nothing would appear different from the outside, so how would they to know something was amiss next door?

Leaving your elder in your neighbor’s hands is just going to cause tension between all three parties. Your neighbor may resent the frequent calls to their home. Your parent may grow agitated that you have the neighbor ‘spy’ on him like he’s a child in need of a babysitter. And should something go wrong, you’ll probably blame the neighbor first for not picking up his phone for the umpteenth time.

Admittedly though, that’s not the worst that can happen. See, while a fire or burglary would be a tragedy, it’s usually not going to happen to you (knock on wood). With adult children whose parents need elder care however, chances are the dangers are going on inside the house, behind closed doors. Their house may look nice and tidy to an outsider (or neighbor), but inside, perhaps your parents haven’t cooked in days, they haven’t done their laundry in weeks, they haven’t driven to church in months. If your parent is in need of care, the real threats are inside lurking silently.

Unless their neighbor is constantly checking up on them inside the home then that simple phone call, “The house looks good to me,” is a false sense of security. It’s not your neighbor’s job to take care of your parent. Neighbors are not an alternative senior living arrangement. This is why senior care referral agencies – like ours – exist.

If your elder needs care and you’re at odds for what to do, then contact us. We represent all elder care communities and can find the right kind of alternative senior living. These senior care homes are not the stereotypes you’ve no doubt heard of, but these are communities that provide transportation, health care, dining, entertaining, public (sometimes multi-day) outings, and much more.

Let us help you help your parents. We can be the friendly, neighborhood senior advocates.

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