We all have a story of our aging parents. To be a baby boomer today, is to face our own mortality as we navigate our relationships with our adult children and aging parents.
Boomers, as a whole, are criticized for selfish behavior and self-absorbed character. We weren’t dubbed the “me generation” for naught.
Yet, my purpose is to share what it’s like to cope with aging parents. It’s a journey no generation before has quite mastered, as our parents are not only living longer lives, our culture is now affixed to a quality of life that didn’t quite exist previous.
When it comes to our parents’ home, that’s a doozy in itself.
How long are they able to live by themselves? Perhaps a spouse has passed and mom now lives alone. Up until recent, she’s been doing fairly well and able to care for herself. Her cognitive behaviors, however, have waned and she seems a bit more confused about her daily routine. Maybe she forgets to take all her medication or no longer uses the microwave for those meals that were once easy to prepare.
When to step in?
There are no exact timetables. Families, while a blessing, are a human bunch. The chasm lies within certain family members, who may love one another, though have different thoughts about what to do with the living situation of mom, dad or both parents. One might be adamant to step in and tell dad he must start pondering the thought of moving out of his home. The happened years ago with my dad-in-law. My husband (at the time) told his father, “I’d rather live with your anger dad, than live with the guilt if something were to happen at home and you get hurt.”
The decisions are dynamic.
Selling an aging parents home is not a slam-dunk reaction or resolution. Unlike younger generations thinking of selling a home, seniors need extra time, patience, encouragement, education and above all, empathetic care and concern for what it’s like for the senior. The process varies for all. It’s important to recognize this, as the options may be more than one realizes.
- Keep mom and dad in their house and age in place. Install grab bars in baths, bathrooms. Remove small area rugs and make sure they have a way to alert an ambulance at a moments notice.
- If aging in place, consider some in-home care. Have someone come a few days a week to look after mom. Have a caregiver cook meals, take her to the doctor, be a caring companion while you’re busy living your own life.
- Consider leasing dad’s house, as the asset can be used for assisted living or board and care living.
- Sell the home.
We, as families, are going through our own specific journeys. I want to hear the whole story. Not to gain detailed and needless information, rather, to understand the bigger picture; who your family is, how they relate to each other, how their specific roles intertwine with their parent(s). It is then I’m able to serve my greatest capacity.
To you and your aging parents, I applaud your efforts to care for one another. Take deep breaths and know you’re not alone.