By Erin Kershaw, Certified Concierge Care Advisor
The thought of leaving a home that you have lived in for years can be overwhelming and even paralyzing. If possible, the dialogue should start as soon as you recognize signs that Mom or Dad is “slowing down” or that “something is not quite right.” Reassuring your parent(s) that it is your intention to take good care of them and make the best decision possible for their care is imperative to getting the process of looking at housing options off to a positive start.
Often people focus on what they feel they will be losing, instead of what they will be gaining by moving out of their own home. Many people lose their ability to socialize as they age. This is either due to the fact that many of their friends have moved, passed away and/or they can no longer safely drive to and from social events. Moving to an Adult Family Home or Assisted Living Community can alleviate some of that loneliness that naturally comes with no longer having access to one’s peers.
It is equally as important to empathize with your loved one when they express concerns about moving. Encourage them to write down their questions and discuss them with one of our Concierge Care Advisors. If your parent(s) can get around safely, encourage them to tour the communities/Adult Family Homes with you. Including them in the process is an important step that allows them to maintain some control over their future. If being part of the touring process is not possible, then take pictures of the places you tour and show them to your parents afterwards. Making the decision to move when you are in the “driver’s seat” and have the ability and time to make the choice is far better than waiting for the inevitable crisis. I have worked with clients time and time again that have had to move to a place that was their second or third choice because they waited for a crisis to move, and it just so happens that their first choice is not available at the time they need to move.
Discussions involving how to handle Mom and Dad’s care can be a source of dissention among siblings. Often there are many different opinions about how to handle the many issues that arise during the aging process. Including all the siblings in the decision making process helps everyone stay on the same page. A Concierge Care Advisor will be more than happy to meet with you and your family members to talk about what options are best for your parent(s). Remember that although your feelings are important, make sure the focus remains on your parent’s care needs.
Statistics show that seventy percent of well spouses/caregivers will have a life altering event or pass away prior to the ill spouse. This is another reason why it is important to be proactive about finding a safe living situation sooner than later. Anyone who has had children knows how hard it was to drop them off at college. That is a bittersweet moment knowing that they have entered a new season in their life and remembering the seasons they have left behind. Moving your parent into a safer environment is similar to that. It can be a time of mourning, but also a time of new beginnings.