Eldercare Where?

Now is the time to instill a great respect for elders into our youth. When my great-grandchild solemnly approaches and begs to know how I have retained my wisdom, zen, and flowing hair, I will deign to tell her.

“Facebook,” I will say.  And also, “Photoshop.”

At the moment, however, my kids regularly discuss the day when they will “prop me up in the Old Folks Home”. Especially right after an argument. “Just you wait,” they say cheerfully, “We will put a poster of Fiji in the window and you won’t know any different.” They pat me on the head. “You’ll be so happy.”

Conversations like this are why I have a friend like Brenda-Lee.

“Can they do that?” I ask her over a glass of Pinot Grigio.

She laughed. Then she reminded me that I am (and will be in the entire foreseeable future) a grown adult and can do what I want. Some people retire, sell their house, buy a camper, and drive all over the country living the vida loca. And some of us move to India. But if you are looking for somewhere local to hang your hat, and the spacious house where you live is no longer serving it’s purpose, then it’s time to go home hunting.

Brenda-Lee is a senior placement advisor; she helps families identify options when they are trying to decide if and where an elder in the family may need to move, whether it be independent or assisted living arrangements. (For example, click here.) Her skillset is free to families, so I sat down for a chat.

Here are some concerns that usually open the conversations between generations:

  • Is there a risk of falling? Can 911 be easily called or are emergency pendants or call alerts needed? Are railings, etc installed in the home?
  • Are medications confusing or forgotten? Who is keeping medical records updated?
  • Is personal hygiene declining? Is there a significant weight loss? Are meals being skipped because of effort involved or lack of company or variety? Are particular dietary needs being met?
  • Is there opportunity to continue staying active or attend fitness programs or the pool? What about hobbies, educational, or cultural activities? Are volunteer opportunities available?
  • Do bills or laundry or dishes pile up? Is home maintenance neglected? Have utilities been disconnected? Is there a need for a gardener or housekeeper?
  • Has driving become slower or are traffic signals missed? Is relying on or arranging transportation for appointments, errands or outings a challenge? Is there pushback to “not be a bother”?
  • Is there a higher risk of being victim to a crime? Are strangers let in the home or personal information given over the phone?
  • Are there frequent phone calls because of a fear of being alone?
  • Or perhaps there are less phone calls as isolation or depression creeps in? Are social functions being missed and friendships dropped? Do neighbors still chat over the fence?
  • Will there have to be a move regardless, in order for family members to be closer to each other?
  • Does it make more financial sense to modify the home and hire help or to sell the home and address all of the concerns in one community living area?

She’s got some valid points. From where I’m sitting, it sounds like living in an all-inclusive resort, only it comes with a maid.

Take my money. Or rather, take my kids’ money. And they can take me to Fiji on the side.

The little smarty-pants.

But – like all of our January articles insist – moving is a life transition that no one takes lightly. There is a period of mourning over how things were and a hopeful anticipation of how things will be, regardless of the circumstances.

I will leave you to your own conversations and please do share any advice you may have.  If you would like to chat with Brenda-Lee, too, about moving in the San Diego area, click here.

(Meanwhile, click on any of my other links because life goes on, my Tribe, and I insist you have a laugh over it.)

Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am he, I am he who will sustain you. Isaiah 46:4

The Forgetful Files is a safe, supportive space exploring different life challenges and big questions with courage, kindness, humor, and practicality. Please join the conversation by offering your unique perspective!