Luther Oaks and Healthy Cells are proud to bring you the first article in a series from noted author, speaker, and consultant, Randalynn Kaye. These articles are designed to help adult children and their senior parents navigate the emotionally charged process of making a lifestyle change as they transition from one stage of life to the next.
When is it time for a change? This is often a difficult question to answer. Changing the lifestyle your parents have become so familiar with can be daunting, and it’s understandable why many people have a hard time identifying that a change is needed. There are three primary reasons people choose to take that next step.
#1 The health-related wake-up call
This is usually an event or situation that gets someone’s attention and prompts them to start thinking about the future. The adult children often see it way before their parents, while older adults will sometimes view the episode as something they just need to “get over,” like a bad cold. Some people will even remain in denial until a more serious crisis occurs. The most common health-related wake-up calls are the following:
- A fall
- A stroke or TIA (mini-stroke)
- The early diagnosis of memory loss
- Cancer or Parkinson’s that is still manageable
- Macular Degeneration or changing eyesight
If your parents experience something like this, it is time for action! Even if your parents are in denial or resisting the idea of making a move, the adult child must know what the options are and start gathering information.
#2 Difficulty maintaining current home
The roof starts to leak, the dryer conks out, the snow removal service doesn’t show up… in short, maintaining their well-loved home is becoming a hassle. This common dilemma sends many people out to start their research. When the challenge of maintaining a home outweighs the pleasure and relaxation you get from living there, it’s time to change. Sometimes, trying to maintain the home is what leads to the “health-related wake-up call” — Dad falls off the ladder trying to clean the gutters or getting to the attic, Mom falls trying to take out the trash or carry a load of laundry to the basement.
One of the most difficult things to do in an emotionally charged situation is to introduce logic. Sometimes addressing the logic and reality of trying to maintain a home is what will get people off the dime and starting to face the fact that they need to move.
#3 Desire to be close to family and friends
Many people reach a point in life when it becomes more important to be close to their real support system. For example, parents may have lived in the same town their entire lives and be familiar with everything and very resistant to a change, but if their only child lives hundreds of miles away, knowing that he/she is near to help if something happened may outweigh the fear of change and upheaval of a move.
Often people retire to places like Florida or Arizona to be near the golf course or the beach where it’s warm and sunny. At some point, that all becomes secondary to being close to the ones they love: their sons, daughters, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
The flipside of the coin is the person who has children spread all over the country or perhaps a person with no family who decides to stay put in their familiar geographical surroundings. If financially viable, positioning themselves in a continuing-care retirement community is a good option.
The top three questions seniors ask themselves
As we age, there are three questions that, consciously or not, dance around in the back of our minds.
- What happens if I get sick?
- What quality of services do I hope to receive?
- Do I have enough money to last me the rest of my life?
Doing your homework and starting your research will help you and your loved ones understand the answers to those three questions and ultimately feel more at peace with the decisions you make.
Next month: How will you decide?
Randalynn Kaye has worked with and counseled hundreds of people searching various senior lifestyle options. She is actively involved with the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging and Life Services Network as well as the Assisted Living Federation of America. She is regularly interviewed for her expertise on issues facing today’s seniors and their families and has been featured as a senior specialist in major media.
For a complimentary lunch and tour, please call Luther Oaks Retirement Community at 309-557-8000.