Presbyterians Today

OCT 2018

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OCTOBER Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay crisis preceding a change in housing is quite common for older adults. A fall or surgery can mean the medical professionals and social workers say home is no longer an option. When this happens, decisions need to be made quickly and sometimes the person who will be living in a new community can't even tour it before moving in. "The worst time to make an important decision about where to live is in the midst of a crisis," Ray said. "A fall or other incident means the options have narrowed and the person being moved feels like they have no control over what is happen- ing in their life. This can have both emotional and •nancial costs." Figuring out where to go after a crisis means •nding an available bed. Moving before a crisis means choosing a new home. "People who come in proactively are healthier and can really engage in campus life. They feel good, so they can get to know their neighbors and try new activities," said Linda Dickson, director of community relations at Redstone Highlands in southwestern Pennsylvania. "Then, when health changes happen, they already have a circle of support from their friends on campus." Not all triggers for choosing senior living are crises. Some people decide that they want to live differently. They are tired of cutting grass or cooking dinner or get bored since they cannot drive. They want to be at a place where there are people and activities. This desire for less work and more engagement can precede a move as well. See the big picture. Bernadette Chang, director of sales and mar- keting at Westminster Gardens in Duarte, California, says that people looking at senior communities often focus their attention in the room or rooms they are moving into and become overwhelmed. "The apartment may be smaller than a three-bedroom home and "We have people who get on our waitlist when they are in their 60s," said Katherine Peters, regional director for sales at Westminster Communities of Florida. "Along with great activities for independent seniors, they also have the peace of mind that support will be in place when they need it." Evelyn Baker said the biggest mistake she sees people make is waiting too long to move in. "We can come and go and not have to worry about the house or yard. Plus, we have met a lot of people who have done such interesting things in their lives. We learn from each other," Baker said. Don't wait for the crisis. Too often the move to senior living happens when a crisis occurs, and choices are limited. Unfortunately, a •nding the best place: You're not too young. Think you aren't old enough to consider senior living? Think again, says Audra Frye, director of sales and marketing at Presbyterian Villages of Michigan. Most people perceive themselves to be 10 years younger than they are. "I once had a 95-year-old woman say she was not quite ready for senior living!" Frye said. Researching senior living com- munities before needing nursing care provides a nonthreatening way for families to begin talking about the changes that aging brings and allows everyone to be on the same page about which criteria to use when evaluating different communities. Plus, it's never too early to be put on the waitlist for a community you like. MAKING DECISIONS TOGETHER Knowing the right time and finding the right place for a loved one can be a chal- lenge for families negotiating late life changes Conflict can arise within generations and between the senior and those responsible for his or her care However there are ways to make it go more smoothly » Be good stewards. Family stewardship means participating holistically in the lives of loved ones and checking on life changes through every age and state. Being a good steward means stopping periodically to talk about the lives of the people we love, including their medical, physical, financial, social, emotional and spiritual needs. Too often conflict arises when people don't talk, and expecta- tions aren't met. » Give your loved one as much control as possible. Choosing to move to a senior care facility is a big decision — emotionally spiritually and physically Moving out of a place that has been home for ‚ƒ years can feel like a loss and transition away from independence Allowing a parent or loved one to have as much control as possible can ease their anxiety about the move As the resource person you can provide information ask questions and make suggestions but whenever possible the final decision should belong to the person making the move » Be a team. Everyone involved should talk openly and honestly about what each person thinks they will be able to contribute to avoid misunderstandings and conflict. Can't take Aunt Kay into your home? Tell her before she's forced into a move. Can't visit Dad every week if he chooses a community across town? Admit it before he signs a contract. Discuss the various options and levels of care with everyone involved to be sure the family is clear about who will provide what.

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