This article provides some tips on how to accommodate your parents in their later years. Some may need to downsize, move interstate to be closer to family, and make some significant changes to how they live later on in their lives. These tips should help you to help them.
Why is this Something you Need to Think About?
The United Nations notes the number of older adults has grown globally and is expected to continue to grow further, from 703 million aged 65 and over in 2019 to 1.5 billion people aged 65 and over in 2050. This is remarkable growth in a population group based on the improvement in medical care and implementation of preventative health measures. It is of further interest to note that women currently outlive men by 4.8 years.
All this means that the likelihood of your parents living a lot longer than your grandparents is very high. Additionally, the statistics would have us believe that it is also highly likely that mothers will outlive fathers, raising issues of safety and bringing to the fore the idea of the elderly living in communities that are age-friendly and that provide specific care and support for the elderly.
With the US formula for senior housing not having kept up with these changes, a large number of older people have been left with little to no choice or have had to move back in with their children as senior living costs become unaffordable, or the accommodation is no longer appropriate.
What Has Changed in Recent Times?
The American family structure has changed over time, and more so recently. Traditionally, parents would have lived with younger generations and their children in their later years. While there are also those that would move to nursing homes and care homes. These trends have changed somewhat, with more and more older people left in a sense of limbo in their later years having to rely on state assistance for living and housing options.
The national and international migration made possible by globalization has been shown in recent times to have distanced families and revealed that there are very few safety nets for the elderly whose families are spread out across the globe.
Times have changed, and a large number of elderly parents look for independence yet closeness to their children, where they are able to see their grandchildren grow but also leave them to their parents when a day of spoiling them has ended.
The Modern Options
There are a number of options now available for older people, and, as with everything else, the first step to take is to do your research. A great place to start this research and who covers the whole of the country is Frontier Management. You and your elderly parents must be aware of the options in your state and beyond so that a real choice can be made. The main types of elderly care are: in a home, in residency, in a managed home, in a community, a modern flat, with multi-age communities, or with people of their own age. There are too many options to make a quick decision, and as such, the best advice is to make sure you look at and understand all the options.
It’s argued that certain generations of older people, and notably those who have lived in larger cities and are far removed from their families and children, tend to choose a new form of multi-age community, closer to the city and more akin to what they were used to. The difficulty with this option has been found to be that as soon as older people begin to need specialized care, they are rehoused either with their children or in a state-run nursing home. Neither of these options is what the elderly parent has chosen but is what is available and affordable.
Therefore, it is suggested that you do your research as soon as you can and have these discussions with your parents.
When to do This?
As early as possible. No, not to move them out of the house as soon as possible, but to make sure that you have a look at all the available options as soon as you can. This is a repetitive theme in that the biggest regret from older people with regard to their current housing is that they did not find a place that suited them earlier so that they could plan appropriately. Ensure that you look at all the recommendations and reviews of those currently living there. It is a big decision, and one that will have financial considerations for both you and your parents, so ensure that you look carefully and do all the research that you can.
Once you have done all the planning, try to make the actual move as seamless as possible. Not all of their furniture and belongings may fit in the new accommodation or home, but you should ensure that the important things are kept, preferably with family. It will also be essential to make the new home as comfortable as possible and include those items of furniture or deco that do fit, to have some continuity.
What Else to Consider
Any move can be daunting, and you will need to think about the following to make any move easier and avoid stress:
Think long term, do not choose a type of accommodation for your parents that suits them today. The choice you make must suit and fit their lifestyle for years to come. It must work for both parents and also for just one parent. You must make a long-term choice to avoid any further stressful moves.
Do not underestimate the heartache and stress caused by any changes later on in life. Moving home is increasingly difficult for older people as it is no longer seen as an adventure but a chore that they can do without. Do your planning early, and as much as possible, involve your elderly parents. The choice must be your parents’, and as such, it will involve providing them with as much information as you can and then working out what would work best for them.
Visiting in the early days will be important until your parent has acclimatized and made some friends.
Dealing with the living conditions and health of your elderly parents can be a daunting task. However, there is a lot of support and advice out there that can be accessed. Make sure that you do your research, visit a few options with your parents, and choose carefully, as it is a major decision that will impact the lives of your parents in their later years.