By Erin Kershaw
The thought of leaving a home that you have lived in for years can be overwhelming and even paralyzing. If it is 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 into an assisted living community or an adult family home can alleviate some of that loneliness that comes with not having access to one’s peers.
It is 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 the Concierge Care Advisors. If your parent(s) can get around safely, encourage them to tour the communities with you. Including them in the process is an important step to allowing 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.
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).
It is normal to feel guilty about moving your parent out of their home. We want to honor our parents wishes and if those wishes include not moving, then the thought of doing so can be very painful and, quite frankly, paralyzing. I often hear “Mom seems to be fine and Dad has done a great job taking care of her so far, so we’ll just see what happens.” Unfortunately, many people wait for a crisis (a fall, multiple illness, extreme stress, etc.) before they broach the subject of moving to a safer environment. Statistics show that seventy percent of well spouses will have a life altering event or pass prior to the ill spouse. This is another reason 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.