Eldercare: If your parents are aging, it's bound to come up over the Holidays.
My parents ran Eldercare housing when I grew up so you'd think this topic would be a synch, yet the conversation wasn't any easier for us. My father passed away in 2011 and should have been in a care facility but my mother wanted to take care of him herself; the ambulance was called whenever he fell as he was too big for her to help him up. It aged her, but they were inseparable and still in love. I understood.
Once he passed, my mother was a bit lost but pretending to be strong. We put her financial house in order and she assumed her daily activities. Luckily, she was very social and able to surround herself with church friends and family as her remaining siblings had moved nearby.
She stayed occupied and engaged, a key for anyone aging!
We spoke daily and I visited weekly but it wasn't until I inquired about a new bruise on her arm that she acknowledged that she had fallen that week, luckily into her laundry basket while going up a step.
It was time.
I spoke with my siblings and they agreed. My mother reluctantly agreed to 'look' at facilities. My sister flew in and we scoured the options, knowing what she would be looking for. We narrowed down the choices and came up with the plan.
I was lucky, all of my siblings agreed to the transition and helped out tremendously. There is a LOT of work to do from:
- getting the right facility at the right price (FYI, they can be negotiated)
- to selling a home and several possessions (we all get way too attached to things)
- to actually moving in to the facility and getting acclimated
Note: most facilities will allow family to stay with the new occupant for a short period of time. I highly recommend this if possible as this helps with the disorientation and the typical challenges we all have when we move.
And just so you know, the conversation doesn't stop once they move in. My mother, highly educated on Eldercare and who chose the facility, was kicking and screaming like a kid heading off to a camp she did not want to attend. The first few weeks were challenging but we eventually got her engaged in the activities and the people at the facility. She began to make new friends.
It took time, but evntually she was glad she made the move.
It's not easy but if you don't deal with it ahead of time the emotional and financial impacts can be devastating!
The Hartford Funds recently published out a short paper on 'how to discuss eldercare with your parents'. A good starter for the inevitable conversation.