Frequently Asked Questions
Q. I'm really concerned about my parents. They don't take care of themselves or their home like they used to. I don't want to interfere, but I'm afraid there will be a crisis one day and I will not be prepared. What do I need to know?
This is a common but upsetting situation. We know that there needs to be education and discussion, but how do we do it, when do we do it and what do we talk about? First, to reduce the possibility of tension, try speaking from "your own position". For instance, "Dad I couldn't sleep well this week because I worry what will happen to you and Mom when you need help [or another scenario]." This can be a less threatening approach. Or perhaps you can start the conversation this way: " My friend Allison's parents started learning about senior living and home care recently. Have you and Dad ever discussed this?". Even if your loved-ones don't want to talk about the future, you can educate yourself. Go to seminars, visit a senior living community, talk to an Elder Law Attorney, call a home care company to get some general information about costs so that when the time comes, you are better prepared. An Aging Life Care Professional™ can be your one-stop shop for advice and direction in all aspects of aging.
Q. I know someone who doesn't really have any family. I can't be their support system, so who can?
There is help through both an Aging Life Care Professional™ and an Elder Law Attorney or Estate Planning Attorney. Professionals in these industries can act as care managers, Conservators, Powers of Attorney, Guardians, etc. Together they can work as a team to put in place a holistic plan to care for anyone who may not have family nearby or any close family at all.
Q. How do I find out about housing options? I don’t know where to start.
A. There are many things to consider when starting a senior housing search. Let’s start with a candid conversation together. We want to hear your concerns, likes, dislikes and other lifestyle characteristics. We will ask you specific questions about your family, current living arrangements, medical concerns, what you may have tried, what you may want (or not want) both in the short term and long term. Being honest and open will help us advise you appropriately about options which can include home care, active retirement communities, independent living apartments, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing care. Senior communities vary greatly in their appearance, size and services, so you may find it very helpful to rely on the knowledge and experience we have rather than trying to learn so much in a short amount of time.
Q. How much does a senior living community cost?
A. This is difficult to answer because, fortunately, there are many options. First, a family must know what the appropriate community is for their loved-one. The options range from active retirement communities to skilled nursing facilities (SNF). Location can play a large role. Generally, the more urban the community the more expensive it is. However, there are income-based housing options as well which can be very affordable. Costs can range from approximately $1,000 to over $10,000 a month depending on several factors. Home health care MAY initially appear cheaper, but one-on-one, home health care can be the most expensive depending on housing costs and how many hours a day an aide is needed. It’s important to discuss the options with a local, senior housing and care consultant to make sure you understand the options and pricing that may be right for you.
Q. I’m afraid my loved-one has dementia or perhaps Alzheimer’s. What do I need to know and where should I start?
A. Start by knowing that memory loss can be caused by many things including an illness or infection, medications, heart problems, trauma, etc. A full checkup should be your first step. It may take some time to rule out causes and come to a diagnosis. Take the time to gather some general information and educate yourself. Be gentle with your loved one. He or she cannot help the medical condition they are in. Empathize. Go along with their state of mind as long as they are not endangering themselves or others. A support network is important. You may wish to contact the Alzheimer’s Association www.alz.org or call 800-272-3900. They have invaluable information and support.
Q. I constantly worry about my Mother living alone at her age and I think an assisted living community would give us peace of mind. The problem is that she is resistant to the idea. How do I talk to her?
A. Typically, the number one cause of resistance is sensing a loss of control. Start the conversation casually sharing YOUR perspective about how you worry, about how you want to be a good daughter/son, how you sometimes can’t sleep at night, or woke up thinking about it, etc. Many parents don’t want to be a burden, but they also don’t want a family member being insensitive to how they feel. Ask your parent what they worry about most. Try to be relaxed, well-rested, and pleasant when you discuss the subject. Most importantly, ask for help or advice of a trusted professional or friend. It’s important to weigh all the issues and determine what is the most important for all parties involved.