When you think about it, we are all aging in place. What makes this conversation different when talking with your elderly parents is that it is more about the place and less about the aging. Home is where the heart is, no matter your age. It represents a lifetime beginning in those early years, your dreams of the future, and the comfort of knowing you have arrived. Establishing your marriage, having children, and working to provide for that journey in your home represents a lifetime of memories. It includes the desire you have always had to remain in your home for the rest of your life.
Of course, aging is inevitable. We start to notice our age as our children marry, our grandchildren are born, and the advancing family celebrations are held in the home. Even then it is not about us, it is about our home and the memories that are being created there.
Adult children notice as their parents who have lovingly provided a home, filled with memories, are beginning to show their age. We talk with them about their plans, offering some ideas to downsize or move into town to be closer to family. Leaving them with a few things to think about, assuring them you only want them to be safe. Our parents say they feel fine, know their home like the back of their hand, what could possibly happen. They have always said and still say they have no plans to leave their home. They truly intend on staying in their home, together, for the remainder of their lives.
We don’t want to scare them, give them with too many what if scenarios. Our sense of urgency increases as our parents continue the aging process. They have officially reached the aging in place category, and it is time to investigate how you can honor their wishes. This conversation needs to be timely, because as we know the older, we often find it more difficult to accept change, or talk about the what ifs. There is the possibility of a fall, or a medical condition that presents itself. Cognitive decline may be starting. They may not have fully accepted where they are in life, so it is important to meet them where they are at.
Aging in place is a wonderful option that we all work hard to maintain. It is what everyone plans for when they select their home. They may have some health issues, which can be managed at home and someone in the family may be available to spend time with them and see them through their lives. It isn’t easy and often people don’t know all the other resources available in the community. And then, there are times when the health crises are immediate, and the plan is not ready and sudden decisions have to be made. The plan may not match up with their wishes.
Discussing what is best for our parents can be difficult and needs to be done prior to getting into a “have to” situation. It is important to do your own research, which will likely create more questions than answers. This is where our professional care managers, who are experts on aging in our community, can be an advocate for you and you parents. Their experience will provide answers and options that you may not have thought of or even be aware they exist. Care managers bring their experience to the situation. Since they work with families on an ongoing basis for years, they are bringing their in-person education with them.
If you or someone in your family are facing aging challenges, please give us a call at 317-300-5454 or email us at Shannon@AgingLifeCareConsultants.com. We’ll be happy to assist!