Would Your Parent “Kill” to Avoid Going to Assisted Living?

Elderly Mom Kills Son to Avoid Assisted Living Relo (click this link for story)

Would Your Parent Kill You to Avoid Being Moved to Assisted Living? 

"Change" is hard for many people. It can be even harder on someone with onset of dementia, other medical illnesses or disabilities, or someone who has fears of the unknown and leaving the familiar. 

With this said, we have to "stop scaring aging parents about assisted living facilities." There are clear distinctions in types of facilities, and quality of facilities within each type.

Many seniors and elderly would like to age in place at home. Reality is, this is not always possible. It is first choice, but not the only choice. Very few percentage-wise will age in place into advanced years still living with family. Why?

1) Spouse may die or be unable to care for the other

2) Adult children may not live nearby be and be able to help out

3) There may not be insurance coverage or budget to hire round-the-clock caregivers.

4) Neighbors may not be available to come help

5) Friends may also be elderly and be unavailable to help

6) Church contacts or volunteers may lack consistency in coming to help

7) The parent's doctor may deem your parent is safer living in a supportive environment in order to receive better care, and better trained care

Rather than having an aging parent live in fear of a move to another location, either in with adult children, other relatives, or an assisted living facility, why not start early by supporting your parent in CHOOSING where he/ she would like to move to "when the time comes"?

For my father, for example, age 93, his last year and still mentally VERY sharp (still driving and still doing accounting work, as well as working part time), he wanted no part of going to a "nursing home." He insisted he would no way give up living in a 1400 sf up and 1400 down to basement level home, plus half acre lot to go live "in one of those places." He still liked knowing he could cut his own grass and clear snow from the driveway with a snow blower. He felt in control.

Yet, when he also realized he was out of money for home repairs, and going through mine, too, reality was sitting in that he felt "he had lived too long.". He didn't like a reverse mortgage when he looked at the final signing documents that required him to report monthly on utilities and insurance being paid on time. He didn't like that someone could just show up and do a walk through without booking an appointment first. He also felt the lender was wanting too much private information.

So father reached his own conclusion that he needed other options. He decided if we found a good solution, he would sell the family home. Initially I sent him to three places I booked long distance. (I was a many hours away plane ride.) He went and looked at  an assisted living place, a nursing home, and a seniors apartment.


Father, a widower, still was a flirt with a strong libido. He may have been 93 on the outside, but his  mind was most days still operating like he was in his twenties. The assisted living place scored his on his list because he met several attractive women who gave him phone numbers and he felt he could get at least a date with each. The assisted living had a one year wait list. He felt he could date for now, and wait to move in, and keep living in the house for now.

The nursing home scored a zero. He called it a "bone yard of people in wheelchairs waiting to die." I assured him some are better than others. That clearly was not a good one. We took that one off the list.

The senior apartment near a woods, scored the highest. This surprised me. Even though the assisted living had a cafeteria and restaurant, and many activities and socials, he loved the independence of the apartment. He also liked flirting with the manager. He said he could see himself living there - had already decided what furniture he would want to take. Visually, he had already started moving himself in. And - it didn't have a wait list, and was within budget. He was eager to put the house up for sale.

To put this in perspective, he had living in the same house since 1958. It was now August 2013. That's a lot of years at one place. And in one afternoon, he decided 'yes, he wanted to downsize from 2800 sf. to 550 sf. and have an almost new apartment, with new appliances and everything working and someone else would do all the repairs as needed.

I asked the manager, "when people leave here, where do they usually go?" She told me, "Over to 'x' nursing home (the same one he didn't like). When they leave here, many are ready for hospice care and they do that well there."

Even when I told my father this, he didn't panic. He just said, "well, I probably won't need that place - but I like the apartment and I want to go there. One thing at a time. Let's sell the house."

So we put the house on market.

The point is your parents will always surprise you if you give them a chance. Give Mom and Dad a chance to make their own rational decisions as long as possible.


Epilogue: In this case, my father went to hospital for routine tests the first week of August 2013, just after listing the house. Within two weeks, he was overdosed on steroids which spiked his blood sugar and he died mid August. So he went to a "new apartment"  - just not the one either of us planned on.



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Caesi Bevis, Author / Speaker Bio

Bevis Consulting

Bevis Consulting

Principal of Bevis Consulting. I am a Futurist, Research Writer, Public Speaker, Voice Over Professional, Consultant, and Expert Witness with over 20+ years background in competitive intelligence, market research, and 13+ years in legislation research and consulting in both the U.S. and Canada. My marketing expertise in recent years includes social network and Internet marketing. I am the former President of the Canadian Business Intelligence Association. My PhD coursework is in Human Behavior Leadership, with an MBA with an International Finance focus, BBA with core courses in Marketing and AA in Advertising Design.

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