Getting your elderly parents to consider moving to an independent living facility takes a lot of convincing especially when they appear to be fairly healthy. But as we all know, their health can change on a dime. Many of our residents have moved here because something happened that made them realize this is a much better solution for everyone involved. Here is a story from the daughter of two of our residents detailing their decision to move.
Two years ago, my mom had a flu-like virus for two weeks and was unable to do anything at home. She had the high fever, body aches and all of the other symptoms that make her very sick. The kicker was that my dad, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease several years ago, was left there to take care of her.
He rallied like the champ he has always been and not only took care of her but handled all of the other daily chores and tasks that were my mom’s “responsibilities” even teaching himself how to do things he had never done before like iron. On top of that, he took her to the doctor and eventually the hospital. While in the hospital, my dad drove back and forth two or three times a day to stay with my mom then go home to take the dog out.
Finally, her doctors figured out that she did not have a virus but a severe reaction to medication. Once this happened and she stopped taking the medication, all of the symptoms subsided, she recovered, and things went back to normal. But it opened all of our eyes to the fact that independent living may not be such a bad idea. After all, my dad’s Parkinson’s disease would only get worse and if another situation like this happens again, he may be unable to do anything or at least much less than he can now. This prompted the search for a place to move.
The obstacle to overcome with my parents was to find a place where they could live their own lives, coming and going as they pleased, just in an easier manner for them. Once we visited a couple of communities, here are several things they liked about independent living.
Just like living in any condominium or apartment community, there is a maintenance staff to handle any normal household issues or problems that they had to handle not to mention the other chores like mowing the lawn. And, most even offer weekly housekeeping for each residence. My mom was most excited about this little perk.
One Monthly Payment
There is no need to spend a couple of hours a month paying bills associated with owning a home. With one monthly payment, everything is paid – housing, telephone, cable, electricity, water. My dad looked at it from the financial aspect and realized it was more than feasible to make the transition for them.
Living at an independent living community is like living at a resort – at least that is what my parents think. My dad, even though he has Parkinson’s, is still pretty active. He had to give up golf (and he played a lot of golf) because of his condition but still wants to exercise and do things. He likes the idea that there are tons of amenities like a game room, fitness center, full calendar of daily activities and beautiful garden areas to enjoy. Having all of this at your fingertips instead of getting into a car to go somewhere is such a bonus and I can wring my hands a lot less than I used to when they went places. As for the game room, some may have video game consoles. My son discovered the Wii at my parents’ community so when we visit, he and my dad spend hours in there playing golf and other games. My dad is pretty good on the Wii!
Built-In Social Calendar and Tons of Friends
Have you ever noticed that your parents have a bigger social life than you do? This does not have to change when living in an independent living facility. There is always something to do from bridge to pool to outings to almost anything else. In fact, most typically employ someone to handle social activities. And, when you think about it, everyone who lives there is pretty much in the same boat age-wise so there is always someone to who likes to do the same things your parents do – this means built-in friends. For my mom, this is a bonus because she always plays bridge so to be able to play every day if she wants is huge!
Help When Necessary
It is a common occurrence for there to be falls and other health issues after all, the residents are of an older age. With independent living facilities, help is there when necessary. That is a big relief for us as adult children not to have as much worry each morning when one of our parents does not answer the phone (you know that slightly nervous feeling you get). Some facilities even provide alert necklaces for each and every resident. My dad lost his balance before Thanksgiving and fell. My mom was out so the alert necklace was his saving grace. Had this happened at their old home, the outcome may have been much different.
Let Your Parents Make the Decision
If your parents are like mine, once you get your parents to visit an independent living community, their attitudes change. They see first-hand that you are not trying to commit them to a nursing home or worse. That is when the decision of moving there becomes their idea – not your idea. It works much better that way.
Aston Gardens At Pelican Marsh is a premier senior living community in Naples, Florida. Our community provides multiple levels of care for aging adults, including independent senior living, assisted living, and memory care. Learn more about our programs by contacting us online or giving us a call at 239.593.1923 today!