Carenting - part 1
Tips when moving elderly parents and relatives from their home environment
As Richard Gere said ‘Growing old is a privilege’ and of course, he is absolutely right - but unfortunately, it does come with some downsides. That once super active confident independent person now has to ask for help whether it’s opening a jar of honey, clipping their toenails, or tending the garden, which they once found so easy to manage.
In the first of two podcast episodes on Carenting, we discuss the topic of moving elderly parents from their homes to a safer home environment. Joined by Anne Bangs and Doreen Hall from TLC Senior Relocation we gleaned some useful tips and advice.
The most pertinent piece of advice that hit home is to plan ahead. Take your time researching and do not leave it until there was no other solution because unfortunately, that is when often the wrong choice is made.
The internet is awash with websites offering up advice and communities with images of beautiful grounds and smiling faces! But in reality, what is it they offer, and will it be suitable for your loved ones?
Firstly, it is imperative to understand the level of care each option provides and the terminology can often be very confusing. In a nutshell, independent living communities focus mainly on serving the social needs of residents, as most are able to live independently without much support whilst assisted living communities support those who need assistance with activities of daily living but still allow residents to live as independently as possible.
Useful websites for research and advice:
TOP TIPS AND ISSUES TO CONSIDER:
Talk about the move with family members. It may seem obvious but include your parent in the discussion and do not treat them like a child. Family members often get together and decide what they think is best but in fact, it’s best for them, not the parent.
In many cases an elderly parent, not surprisingly, is adamant they will not move out of their home. This is when it can be better for an outsider to be involved as they can test the water and assess the situation. Even better get them to plant the seed of an idea of moving to assisted living.
Include professionals including doctors in the discussions
Sit down with family and list the pros and cons. Care homes are expensive, there’s no getting around this but that’s because they are ‘care’ homes and have the staff and facilities to do so. However, not all care homes are equal!
Be realistic. Sometimes one sibling believes the parent can manage, this is often the case if they don’t see them on a regular basis. You must all communicate and be on the same page.
Do your research. It’s all very well that the home is set in acres of beautiful grounds but where are the local shops to walk to? Is it near a train or bus station? If the home is in a remote location they may have issues finding staff. How long is the journey for family members and friends to visit? Try not to choose one in a different area away from where your parent’s lived. Friends will find it extremely hard to visit.
What are the other residents like? Will your parent fit in and make friends?
Visit the home more than once- this is why it is crucial to plan ahead. On the initial visit, the staff can be wonderful but then sadly on an unannounced visit you see the true colours of the staff and venue.
How will the care home be financed? This can often cause rifts in families, so be considerate of your parent’s needs and thoughts. Don't argue in front of them – imagine how they will feel.
Carenting Part 2 podcast will look at moving an elderly parent into your home and the gadgets, AI, care and infrastructure available out there to help them stay in their own as long as they hope to.
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