Recall how there was not a discussion regarding the changes in Mom and Dad at thanksgiving. Well now, those changes have escalated and now the rush begins to move Mom and Dad into a senior living community.
Do not rush this process. Senior living is far more complicated than many believe and it is a process that should not be rushed. Moving into the ‘wrong’ senior living can actually have long lasting effects, which only makes the situation more complicated.
Senior living isn’t for everyone. How does Mom feel about it? And Dad? Chances are, one of them is going to have their hesitations on moving into a community. Mom and Dad may not be able to do all of their favorite hobbies and activities anymore, but there may still be wishes that are a challenge to be met within a community. The first step should be to understand what Mom and Dad wish for their retirement in the foreseeable future.
After you have discussed, as a family, what it is Mom and Dad wish for their golden years to be like, it’s time to discuss finances. Senior living, senior care, and various aging aspects are expensive. Can Mom and Dad afford senior living? For how long? Can they afford in-home care?
The options are endless when it comes to senior care. Maybe Mom and Dad just need some companion help throughout the week to prepare meals and tidy up around the house. Maybe you worry about their safety living alone. The list could go on and on, but it is important to understand what it is Mom and Dad want, and what they can afford. Always plan for the expenses to increase year to year, and for the time frame to be longer than expected.
So, after it’s all said and done, Mom and Dad feel the best bet for them is to move into senior living, and their retirement savings will be enough to last them 10 years within the right community.
First things first, do your research. Find a community that fits Mom and Dads wishes. Most communities have their own spin on what they offer. Some focus more on the social aspects, others fitness, others art, and some have a balanced system. The community should fit Mom and Dad. Do not make Mom and Dad fit into a community. Senior living is ever growing, finding a community that fits Mom and Dad is achievable, but it will require some work.
So you’ve found a few that seem to be great. Perfect, do NOT schedule a tour. Drop in without Mom and Dad. This will allow you to see how the community is on an everyday basis without the sales approach. Do not be blinded by the decor, and beauty of the building. How was the individual at the front desk? Did they greet you with a smile? What about other residents? Do they seem happy and energetic? See if you can meet with the Executive Director, does he or she show compassion with others around? The first trip to each senior living community will help you narrow down your list once more. From there, a tour should be scheduled with Mom and Dad, and any other family members who will be involved in care decisions.
Again, do not be blinded by the lavish decor, and beauty within the building. There are gorgeous communities that provide the lowest level of care, and vice versa. Of course the first thing discussed on the tour will be the building itself.
Then comes the nitty gritty. Following your tour, suggest a sit down to discuss care options, lifestyle within the community, dining options, amenities, and cost. Remember, Mom and Dad’s health and safety concerned you. They do not need to most beautiful community, they need a community that will provide quality care, and check a majority of their retirement boxes.
Following each tour, jot down some of the pros and cons. Even if you have narrowed the list down to two communities, there will be a lot to ponder before making the final decision.
After numerous tours, and a list of pros and cons, safe to say the list is narrowed down by now. This is the point in which, other options can be weighed once more before making the big decision.
In-home care is an option for those who would like to bring a companion or caregiver into their home for a set number of hours each day. This option is often more expensive each month (if there is a companion each day), compared to senior living. However, this allows Mom and Dad to remain in their home.
Are there numerous family members in the area? Would those in the area be willing to step up two or three times each week? Is this an option that would provide a safe lifestyle for Mom and Dad?
Finally, the time has come for a decision. Whatever it may be, it must be in alignment with Mom or Dad’s values as they age. There are pros and cons to senior living, and there are pros and cons with aging in place. Whatever the choice may be, DO NOT RUSH.
Better to get started sooner rather than later!