By Judy Morton
Moving elderly parents convincing mom and dad that they need Assisted Living takes time and patience. I prefer to be proactive and work towards a move, instead of functioning in crisis mode. That is not always easy when dealing with difficult elderly parents.
Now we’re beginning The Search: finding a place for my husband’s parents to move to. They really do need to get out of their house and into some sort of managed care facility. The better places usually have waiting lists, so it’s imperative that we start looking.
There are so many options out there, and so many different places, offering levels of care. It’s bewildering, confusing, and overwhelming. And I’ve done this before, for my own beloved mother, so I at least have a bit of an idea what we’re in for on this search. My poor husband, on the other hand, doesn’t even know how to find a place to even look, much less what to look for, what questions to ask, what notes to take.
I do have a very long checklist, and since I am weird and love playing with spreadsheets, I’ve even figured out how to do a comparison database for all the places we check out. I’ve pored over the lists on various sites of things to look for to compile this database and I’m confident that it will tell us MOST of what we need to know to make a decision.
I also know that the most complete checklist in the world is not going to answer everything. Some things only time will tell, and are a matter of personality and personal likes, dislikes and quirks, and just cannot be judged in advance. But we’ll do the best we can to find the right place. We have certain criteria, and while there is “wiggle room” on some of the things we want, others are concrete.
The plan is for me to do as much research online as I can to find various places and facilities. Get prices, see what amenities and services are offered. THEN my husband and I will set up tours of the best prospects. I will take my camera and a tape measure, and get photos and dimensions of every place we look. Once we’ve narrowed the choices down to something that won’t totally overwhelm my in-laws, we will show them what we’ve got, let them pick which ones they want to tour, and let them make the final choice.
But first… we have to talk FIL into going along with the idea of moving. He plans to stay in that house “until one of us dies” and has no intention of ever moving. And honestly, it might be better for him to stay where he is as long as he can, because it’s familiar to him. Moving him might accelerate his dementia, and cause him more anxiety and confusion.
But – it’s not fair to MIL; she really can’t cook much any more, she can’t do any housework, and neither can he, and being isolated at home with him all day is already impacting her physical, mental and emotional health. She is exhausted, because she can’t sleep at night from worry. And with a 90+ mile round trip, it’s awkward and exhausting for us to check in on them every day. So we have no choice but to get them to make this move. We know it won’t be easy. Sometimes you really do have to weigh the choices and pick the “lesser evil”, and hope you are making the right choice.
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