by Joy Loverde
Much of my success as a family caregiver when it comes to aging parents and loved ones has to do with always being willing to address problems head on. In other words... be proactive. If you are the proactive type – good for you. And many people are just the opposite. In fact they tell me they rather wait until they have to deal with eldercare issues in the moment. I guess that’s a strategy but not one I would recommend.
I often wonder why family members think that waiting for an eldercare crisis is a smart thing to do. Is living in the moment and pretending that nothing will ever happen to the elders in our lives result in everybody living happily ever after? I’ve never known that to be the case. The process of being proactive offers you time. Time to talk, time to think, time to decide under much less stressful circumstances.
Moving reluctant elderly parents out of their house is just about as stressful as it gets and I’m encouraging you to be proactive – for your sake. If you haven’t already done so, please review Part 3, “Moving a Reluctant Parent.” In that particular blog I wrote about the reasons why a move for my Aunt is inevitable. Long before today, I saw the writing was on the wall. The time is now for you to do the same.
Sit down with a paper and pen and write down all the reasons why a move for your elders may be their only option. How will they get around if and when they can no longer drive? Is the house starting to fall apart? Will they eventually not be able to afford to maintain the house? Is the house becoming unsafe in terms of climbing stairs and accessing certain rooms (like basement laundry rooms)? Will the value of the house keep on plummeting? Are they running out of money and need to sell the house to pay the bills?
As I said in the last blog, not everyone has to move out of their house. Bringing help in or living with family members under the same roof might be alternatives. My point is this... Take time now to think through this inevitable family living situation before a crisis sets in and everyone is under duress.
Another advantage of previewing your elders’ possible move right now is that you have the opportunity to start talking about this touchy subject today even though the move may be far in the distant future. Planting the seeds today builds trust. When it comes to being a successful family caregiver, it always comes down to our elders trusting us.