Assisted Living Evolution Marked by Great Recession’s Impact – Senior Housing News.
This article confirms what I had suspected, that the recession had changed things. I find that more and more people want to age in place in their present homes rather than relocate to independent senior living residences. My husband’s parents, who were born in 1905, happily moved into a senior living campus when they were in their mid-eighties. They expected to advance through the full range of services offered such as assisted living and,perhaps, skilled nursing or dementia care housing if needed. Instead, they remained in their initial apartment. After my father-in-law died at the age of 94, the establishment assumed my mother-in-law would want to move to assisted living, but whenever she was taken there to view available apartments, we could read in her face the dread she had of moving there. So, she lived on in her original apartment, receiving ’round the clock care-giving, until she died at the age of 100. Fortunately she had the means to do so. My husband and I do not. The economy has changed drastically, but even more so is the difference in outlook between our parents’ time and our own. Our generation has some of that baby-boomer energy about it and we still want to “do our own thing”.
At some point in life most of us concede that our grown children are adults and turn over their management to themselves. But what happens when it becomes necessary for the adult child to parent the elderly parent? Who decides when that cross-over point is reached? Some Seniors recognize when they are slipping cognitively and have prepared themselves for asking for and receiving help from their children, but they are the rare ones. More often, it comes about involuntarily during or after a crisis. What I’ve seen happen is the adult child decides that the parent must no longer live on her own but needs to be uprooted from her home and placed in an Assisted Living Facility, with or without the parent’s cooperation. This sort of decision is perhaps more apt to be made by a child who lives far away…problem encountered – problem solved. But look at it from the perspective of the parent faced with being uprooted. Is it really necessary for her to be torn away from all that is familiar? Can another solution be found such as the use of technology to keep her safe and adjust for memory glitches? The end result may indeed be moving to a care facility, but giving the parent time to make the transition gradually by remaining in her home for a few more months or years benefits her greatly as long as she is safe. I have been puzzling this out because of a situation in my own family where I can see both sides of the situation.
In our early married years, my husband and I were “back-to-the-land” people…not really hippies, but earnestly growing almost all of our own food. We were avid organic gardeners and participated in lots of efforts to establish communities of like interests. Those lasted but a short time but ideas do re-circulate. I do like this concept because it doesn’t segregate the aged and dying, but engages them in the whole life of the community. This ties in with my concept of legacy years living.Aging Seniors Have Commune-Like Option, Retirement Communities – AARP.
Harriet Vaughan was interviewed by host, Libby Mitchell, for the Spectrum Generations TV program “Mature Lifestyle”. We had a lively discussion about dealing with “the stuff that owns us”.
Mature Lifestyle Program “Downsizing & De-cluttering: Think of it as “Leaving Legacies”
They are so sad…the adult children who grew up in a hoarder’s home. Only as adults do they finally gain perspective on their home life. Not every one who keeps stuff is a hoarder and the ones who truly are hoarders have little or no insight about the situation. Listen to this young woman’s story.
How A Parent’s Compulsive Hoarding Impacts Children | Here & Now.
At my home the project for 2013 is to remodel our house to accommodate our changing needs as we age and to perhaps share our house with the younger generation. Shared housing is an old idea that’s become relevant due to the current economy. As the first of several renovations, we are planning to put in a Geo-thermal heating and cooling system. It will be an expensive project, but it will also probably pay back the investment within 7 years due to increased savings on fuel. It will also increase my ability to live here and maintain the home if I should have to live alone. We are among the very few pro-active seniors who plan for future needs. Most seniors will be faced with making abrupt changes after a sudden decline in health.
“Most calls I get are for an emergency situation where someone needs an immediate remodel to accommodate an injury or illness,” Louis Tenenbaum, an aging-in-place expert, told Bloomberg. “You can’t design, get permits and finish the construction in a short timeline so the person can get home fast.”
When people put off those necessary renovations, the article says, the senior homeowner may end up spending time in a rehabilitation facility or moving into an assisted living community, rather than being able to return home right away following an incident.
None of us has a crystal ball to predict just what our future needs may be, but I know most people in my generation are counting on remaining in their own homes. Take charge of your own aging in place needs. Start now!
The Christmas season was always a trial for Cynthia. For as long as she had been an adult she had been aware that her mother’s problem with compulsive acquiring had gotten out of hand. Her mother justified a lot of her shopping as being gifts to give at Christmas, but the truth was that when the time came, she couldn’t find the things she had purchased. The wrapping paper and gift bags from Christmases in the past were still part of the detritus filling the house. The most frustrating thing for Cynthia was her mother’s obliviousness to the chaos in her surroundings. What can you give to a person who has too much stuff already and no place to put any more?! Fortunately, she had found support in an online group called Children of Hoarders, and knew that she was by no means alone in her situation.
Some of the suggestions she found on their website looked doable for this year’s Christmas for her mother – others didn’t. If she gave her cash or gift cards there was a good chance she would lose them. She had learned it was futile to give her books about becoming organized and she would never, ever, again “gift” her by cleaning up her home while she was away. The possibility of making a donation in her mother’s name had some appeal but she really wanted to do something personal. She opted for treating her mother to a “Girls Day Out” at a local spa and going with her. This would enhance their relationship and get them away from the point of contention, the way her mother lived in her own home.
Every item has a story attached to it believe it or not. Just ask. Elaine had the foresight to get her mother to sit down with an old photo album and a box of loose photos. Together they went through them and identified who the people were, the location, and sometimes even the event. Elaine wrote on the back of each photo, lightly in pencil, each detail as her mother gave it. There were some duplicate photos, so Elaine set those aside until she determined if there were other people, such as her mother’s sister, who might want them. They removed photos from albums which held them behind plastic sheets. Elaine had looked into how to safely store photos so that they would not deteriorate. She had purchased some acid-free envelopes just for photo storage. As her mother went through the photos she began to relate stories about the people and events that Elaine found fascinating. She encouraged her mother to write them down in a notebook which she purchased for her.
She soon could see that her mother was getting tired so they stopped that activity but Elaine made a note to herself on an index card about the next step in the process and she dropped the card in her purse as a reminder of where to begin next time. The experience got her mother, Susan, thinking about other items in her home that also had stories to tell and she decided to make small efforts daily to locate items and make notes about them for when she and her daughter would get together.
Helping a parent to see the importance of their life experiences and the relevance to the times they lived in may make it possible for them to go through their possessions and make decisions. When you show interest they feel validated. Sometimes going through their stuff evokes uncomfortable emotions for them and you. Keep in mind the mantra “no shame – no blame”. Let go of the past. Enjoy today. Endow the future.
Beatrice found the holidays right after Arthur died to be the hardest time for her. She had always done most of the shopping and baking, but he had put up the Christmas tree and the outside decorations. But it wasn’t his handyman services she missed as much as him being there to talk to. Who would she share memories with now?
This was also on the mind of her daughter, Clair. She contacted her sister, Millie, and they decided to step into Mom’s life at least for this first holiday season and see what they could do. At first Beatrice didn’t want to put up a tree or any other decorations because her heart wasn’t in it. Her daughters persuaded her that the neighborhood needed her little bit of cheer so she agreed to do it for their sakes. Millie and her husband selected a tree for her mother’s house and they set it up in the living room. The grandchildren were called on to do their part in bringing cheer to their grandmother’s life by decorating the tree and putting the electric candles in the windows. Everyone tried to keep the mood light by remembering times in the past with grandfather.
Clair and Millie took over sending out Christmas cards for their mother. They got out her address book and in some cards they included a note to tell of Arthur’s death to those who might not have heard. They spent more of their time than usual visiting their mother, knowing that left to her own devices, she would spend her time in depression and sorrow. They also allowed her to be alone with her grief, remembering that it is a process and not to hurry her through it.
Beatrice was glad of their help and she let them guide her through Christmas shopping. She felt so numb and making decisions was difficult. She did most of her work in the morning or late afternoon, allowing time for a restful nap after lunch. Sometimes she just wanted to stay there in bed but she knew that her family was expecting at least some effort from her so she tried to invest a little of herself every day for their sakes.