Moving is a big deal. Retirement homes might have everything you ever dream of and more, but that doesn’t mean you’re ready. Here, we look at exploring about what’s out there and how families and seniors should understand what’s at stake.
Some seniors still hold outdated beliefs about “old folks homes.” These are easily put to rest by visiting retirement homes near you. See more objections and responses. Examine them and consider the responses.
It’s common for people in their 80’s and 90’s (The Silent Generation) to strongly believe in self-reliance— sometimes to a fault. It’s understandable. They may have married and started families when they were young, and they worked hard for every dollar they earned and saved. Many were immigrants to Canada who started with nothing, and often, they have difficulty admitting they need help, let alone accepting it. Their adult children find this rigidity challenging, especially since they respect, admire, and love their parents. The family dynamic can be problematic, and it can lead to a stalemate. Every family should avoid this. If you don’t, and a health crisis or a bad fall happens (two common scenarios) you’re not going to be ready.
Pat Irwin of ElderCareCanada has over 20 years of experience assisting families making elder care decisions. She asks senior clients, “What does independence mean to you? What does it mean to your family?” As care and support needs increase, family members can help, but seniors also need to consider how kids are managing the stress and disruption of caregiving.
She suggests that families “observe and pay attention to areas where [seniors] need support.” That can be done in a collaborative way. For example, cook a meal together and observe how easily the parent navigates their kitchen. Go grocery shopping together and observe what it’s like for the senior.
Assess, together, what independence in every part of a senior’s day means. Address things that need improvement such as home updates or other incremental fixes. You can always consider the value of home care along the way, too.
The thing is, you want to avoid a family crisis where you’re frantically searching for help while at the same time dealing with a loved one’s serious healthcare issue. Consider the impact these situations would have on your family:
A sudden serious illness like a stroke. If a stroke is not treated by medical staff in the first few critical hours, effects can be debilitating, severely reducing the victim’s independence. If a senior is living alone, they’ll need care, or they won’t be able to be alone any longer. Will you know where to turn? Other sudden emergencies like a heart attack or an accident can also change your life.
A bad fall in the home. If a senior falls and they get badly injured, they’ll be hospitalized and unable to look at retirement homes. If they’re so badly hurt they can’t return home, you’ll need to find a solution.
Irwin adds, “Be alert to potential tipping points such as the death of a spouse, loss of a driver’s license, or any overwhelming medical diagnosis.” Things can change suddenly. In these cases, families may end up in a desperate search. Why not look at options together while everyone is clear-headed?