Decisions, decisions. The falls, the frailty, the forgetfulness may have you convinced that your aging parent may need help sooner than you had imagined.
“Tomorrow this must happen,” you think. But unless your parent has dementia, is in danger, or in the hospital or rehab and can no longer live safely alone, I’d suggest you pull back mentally and consider the “where” before the “when” of obtaining in-home care or moving from their home.
Your parent is competent? If so, you might have a conversation that begins like this:
“Where do you see yourself living when home becomes difficult to manage?” Many answers are possible, but the most frequent response–that of 92% of Americans–is “I want to stay home, with help, if needed. But home, definitely.”
If HOME answers the “where” question, you and your parent can plan how to make the home safer and how to research home care options WHEN it’s needed. And perhaps talk with others in their neighborhood about good providers.
But suppose your parent has another idea such as “I want to live where I can get meals, housekeeping, transportation and help with care if needed. But I’m not ready now.”
Choosing the specific WHERE makes the WHEN question easier to navigate. To help your parent find the specific location, you can do any number of the following:
- Together, make a list of the “must-have’s” in terms of location, cost, levels of care, affiliation, etc.
- Do some online research to eliminate communities that don’t seem to fit your criteria.
- Tour several communities and ask lots of questions of the marketing director. Talk to residents, too, to see how they like living there.
- Do repeat tours to any communities that are especially appealing.
- If your parent wants to “save a spot,” he or she may put down a deposit for a waiting list. The deposit is usually refundable. It works to sustain interest. And waiting list members are often invited to community events and even free weekends so they can sample community life.
For seniors who are mentally competent but becoming frail, the WHEN decision can be lengthy as they sort through the options and finally decide.
Starting with the WHERE can give you and your parent peace of mind. If an emergency arises, you’ve talked through the options ahead of time. Less panic and more peace.