Some requirements to qualify for my Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) certification have included touring many communities in two counties and reading a number of books on downsizing, reverse mortgages, long-term care insurance, plus my favorites How to Say it to Seniors and Aging in the Right Place. It’s been a crazy time of 14-hour days preparing for this exam and doing 30 days of action items in two weeks!
One of the tasks was to re-visit senior living communities. New connections have been made in communities for 55+ housing developments (e.g. Legacy North), Independent and Continuing Care living locations (e.g. Country Pines), Rehab and Skilled Nursing places (e.g., Manor Care, Pineview), Memory Care and Assisted Living (Emeritus/Brookdale, Mountain Ridge, Heritage Place in Bountiful) and many more. There are literally hundreds of places to choose from based on finances, medical/health needs, proximity to family needs and community activities. If you are working full time, when are you going to have time to tour all of these places yourself in order to be ready for any Mom/ Dad move issues?
What if Mom and Dad can make some plans now, just to help narrow the field of choices, should that ever be necessary? The idea is that it is easier to make a move when Mom and Dad have already pre-made decisions on how their living arrangements are going to be handled as time progresses, while they were still healthy with full cognitive ability. This is certainly better than arguing with them in the midst of a medical crisis, where everyone is stressed, sad, or feeling guilty. Everyone has heard stories about a fast Mom/Dad move directly to assisted living. The parent is usually angry, because in reality, they are grieving the (sometimes perceived) loss of independence and home.
One community mentioned that it is best to move into an independent living community while still healthy, simply due to the fact that if health declines, these communities would decline admittance and the senior would have to go straight to assisted living.
Having a plan in place reduces stress and keeps control in the seniors’ hands. As CSHPs, we are here to help families create this plan and we do all of the coordinating with our team of resource providers. This includes help understanding how to finance a future assisted-living life (reverse mortgages, Medicare spend downs, VA aid and attendance benefits, long term care insurance), an elder law attorney, senior move managers, professional cleaners, handymen, roofers, running estate sales, and finding the right place to live.
There are many intricacies to a move later in life, and while helping a senior age in place in a current home might seem like the right thing to do at the moment, if things change quickly, then knowing what the next steps are helps the entire family work together in a less stressful situation.