Where do you want to spend your golden years
Helping your parents enjoy their golden years
It can be difficult seeing your parents age. Perhaps you’ve noticed that living independently is becoming more challenging for them or you may worry about their long-term well-being. This is a scenario facing many in the Baby Boomer generation, who are called upon to make decisions that will greatly impact their parents’ future.
So what can you do to make sure your parents thrive in their golden years?
Prepare their home:
Not surprisingly, many seniors hope to remain in their homes for as long as possible. Our homes are comfortable and change can be unsettling. But with aging comes physical limitations and a home, once suited for a larger, more active, family, may not be adequately equipped to meet the needs of a senior. Some aspects to consider include the space to maneuver mobility devices such as wheel chairs or walkers, safety when navigating stairs, and feasibility of home maintenance upkeep. Also consider installing such devices as hand railings or lever door knobs. “A few tweaks to key rooms … can make a standard home more user-friendly for anyone at any age or ability,” said Elinor Ginzler of the AARP.
Develop a plan:
Start conversations now with your loved ones about what’s important to them as they age. It’s never too early to begin researching alternative living arrangements.
“Far too often a person has to break a leg or contract a serious illness to discover that the home they love could restrict their comfortable lifestyle,” Ginzler said.
Discussing senior living options may be a touchy subject with your parents. While you seek to ensure their safety and well-being, they may visualize the end of their independence. But a retirement community can often combine the best of both worlds, providing your parents with a safe and secure environment that can help enrich their quality of life.
Don’t go at it alone:
With aging parents, it can sometimes feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. But you have help available to conquer many of the common obstacles families face. If you’ve settled on a move, senior experts such as downsizing specialists and other moving professionals can make the relocating process much easier.
“I always tell people that downsizing is a journey and it takes time to process,” said Vickie Dellaquila, the owner of Organization Rules, Inc. and author of “Don’t Toss My Memories in the Trash”. “Give yourself some help, whether from a professional or family member, because it is so emotional.”
If your parents are resisting the idea of relocating, enlist the retirement community’s staff to meet with them, get to know them and provide expertise to help them conquer their hesitations.
Finally, you may feel a sense of guilt or that you are “abandoning” your parents by moving them out of their home. In actuality, you are watching out for their best interest much as they did for you as a child. You are giving your parents the opportunity to thrive in a secure environment. Relinquishing primary caretaker duties can also bring normalcy back to your life and provide peace-of-mind in knowing their needs are always met.