Is home care needed? – After 20 years providing home care to thousands of people we’ve seen many different scenarios but one consistent theme is that change is difficult. So often change becomes necessary as we age in order to remain healthy and safe in our homes or sometimes in another home. Another home may be smaller and easier to maintain but still allow independent living. Some of the issues we have to deal with are hard to come to terms with. Sometimes it is our children who initiate the conversation about downsizing or moving to an assisted living environment. These are never easy conversations and often result in disagreements and struggles between family members. One child may want to support the parents’ wishes and others may not agree.
Often it has been one sibling who lives closer to the parents that wants to work with the parents on a plan that suits the parents while one who lives far away has the strongest opinion about how it should be done. Most often there can be a plan that respects the parents and their many years of success and independence. The hope is that all of their strengths are considered and used when planning any change. Questions for the children and the parents to get us started are “is the home too large for easy and manageable upkeep?” Do you need a lot of help to keep it up? Are you willing to accept some outside help to do so? Do you understand that we, the children, are also busy with university children, work and family activities and commitments therefore cannot be doing all of the upkeep and still be able to visit and enjoy gatherings together? These are tough questions!
Are we ready to start the conversation? From our experience you, the parents, are not always receptive to even think about change. Statements such as “I am doing fine and don’t need help” are frequent. Some of you strongly remind your children that they “are not the boss of me.” I understand that you want to be independent and do things as close as possible to how you have always managed but can there be a compromise? Can you consider that your children worry about you and care about how you are doing? If all parties respect each other can there be a discussion?
After the questions about the size of the house and the maintenance of it can the topic of all of your “stuff” be addressed? We love our belongings but even before we think of a smaller place can we think about starting a process of reducing what we store and organizing what should stay and what should go? We should do this even if we want to put off a move or maybe even avoid a move because life would become more manageable. Here comes another hard part…..Can you accept outside help to do this organizing? This could be an ongoing process over weeks for short periods at a time allowing you to get used to the sorting and deciding “what stays” what is “discarded” and what “can be given away?”
I think that even younger people far from needing help to stay home can be thinking about future needs. Do we need as much as we have? Food for thought!
Comments, thoughts, suggestions welcome. Until we meet again.