Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Here's one advantage to our jumbled system of senior care: we have a lot more choices now. Less than 50 years ago seniors either moved in with family or moved into a nursing home. There were no other options available.

Today, in-home care is readily available in almost every community in the US. Assisted Living has added another level of care to the mix, allowing seniors to live in an independent, residential environment while accessing support services. Granted, the level and type of support varies widely - from state to state and even from building to building - but no longer does a person needing care have to move into a skilled nursing community to receive assistance.

Barbara Quirk, a geriatric nurse practitioner, writes about yet another option that boomers may well choose in the future: shared housing arrangements.
The fact is that it is not a bad idea to consider moving in together with lifelong friends and hire whom you choose for your helpers. This may be a far better option than the traditional assisted living. For starters, you would be with people you know and enjoy, rather than strangers.
My immediate response is, "Yes, but then I'd still have to cook and clean!" I like the idea of someday moving into a senior living community where I simply show up at the dining room when I wish, and leave the day-to-day worries to someone else.

My mom has been living in a cottage in a retirement village now for over 6 months. She was sharing her experience with friends who had come to visit her for the first time - and who were speechless at how friendly everyone there was to them.

"We were just walking down the sidewalk and people would stop to talk. Come to find out, we have friends in common with more than one person living here!"

My mom is happy, has tons of new friends, and says she truly feels like this is now "home" for her.

My friend, on the other hand, receives calls daily from her mom who, recently widowed, is alone and lonely on her countryside home.

“I lied to my mom for the first time yesterday when I told her I was busy and couldn’t go with her on an errand,” she said. “I was simply worn out from daily calls for help – but mostly for companionship.”

Caregiver stress and the medical ramifications are well documented today. This stress affects families who are trying to balance it all, as well as paid caregivers who don’t have access to the training or support that they need to do a demanding, often thankless job.

I like what Barbara Quirk says in her comments about shared housing and other options we have now:

With all of the housing options available today, plus a few that haven't even been thought of, it pays to at least consider what would be acceptable to you.
And, perhaps even more importantly, consider – and discuss - what would be acceptable to your loved ones. Giving that some attention now may take some of the stress off all of us when needs arise in the future.

1 comment:

  1. My Dad's CNA is a girl I have known since she was 2 years old. She loves Dad and is a better caregiver than I imagine a stranger would be.

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