“Couple’s influence aging parents to move into
written by tonya lee carrie fancher
In the book ‘Stages of Senior Care,’ Paul and Lori Hogan write:
”The 40-70 rule. A guide to conversation starters for adult children and their senior loved ones. It’s free online at 4070talk.com and it states its best the communication begins when a parent reaches 70 or the oldest child 40, whichever comes first.”
If there are signs in the lives of your aging parent that needs to be address, rest assured, there’s freedom and peace of mind when it comes to a forward move into Independent living.
Independent living often is known as retirement or senior communities, which offer a refreshing lifestyle filled with recreational, educational and social activities.
Boomers, Greg and wife Melanie Kovach, of Farmerville Ohio, know about Independent living first hand. The signals with Greg’s parents became loud and evident.
Greg’s father was recovering in a Rehab facility from colon cancer and his mom did not want to stay in their home alone. So on Mother’s day, Greg, his wife and sister from Florida takes his mom to Friendship Village and tours the apartments. The apartment had to accommodate both of his aging parents, John and Vivian and their dog named Angel.
Greg, being the only son and closest in distance, has two sisters, one in Arizona and another sister in Florida. They had an agreement that Greg became their parent’s power of attorney and guardian.
Q. Greg, with the role reversal, was there any challenges to move your parents from their home?
A. We were in a crisis mode, and one of the biggest obstacles was that my dad would not want to move and that he would get mad of any decisions without his consent. But he loves it here now and is very glad we took charge and made the decisions.
Q. Greg, what sold you on Independent living for your parents?
A. The services provided with Friendship village, like the social activities. There’s something everyday for them to do. I felt very confident about the staff. There’s no house keeping or transportation needed. They have it available. They go to the dinning room for one meal a day. I handle all my parents’ prescriptions and grocery shopping for their other meals. But that is also available if I am going to be gone. It's peace of mind.
Greg listened from within when his mother voiced that she did not want to be alone and with all the needed upkeep of their home, Greg took a proactive and courageous approach as he understood his new responsibilities.
Q. How did you handle your father coming out of the Rehab facility?
A. Being the power of attorney and guardian, along with the agreement of my sisters, there were no questions. I just told Dad that we have a new home for him and our mom. There’s no outside work to be done, which would makes life easier, and no driving that’s needed. Their social and safety issues resolved with this decision.
Q. What do your parent loves about Independent living?
A. The social activities, the meeting of more friends and that the people in the community look out for one another. No matter what the weather was like outside, living life went on which included the activities.
Q. I understand your parent’s dog, Angel, plays a major role. What makes Angel’s presence very significant?
A. Angel helps make friends for my parents. It gives them a reason at 90 & 93 yrs. old to get up every morning. Angel has to go "out".
Q. How does your wife and partner Melanie plays a role in the care of your parents?
A. She handles all the appointments schedules: doctors, hair cuts, dog grooming, laundry etc.
Q. Melanie, what are the challenges for you working jointly with your husband?
A. Our son who’s 22 years-old, moved back home from the coast guard. The house seems smaller and it seems like I am sandwiched in. I have friends who are in situations with their parents, and I see their concerns with making decisions to move their parents. As I see it, it’s not the parents that minds selling their home. It’s the children who do not want to let go of the family home.
Q. Greg, your parents has been living at Friendship Village 3 years now. What would you like to say to others who may be challenged to take a proactive role in moving their parents into their next healthy step of living life?
A. I visit my parents twice a week which is 20-25 minutes away and I make sure all their needs are being met. The security of their own security brings peace of mind not only for me, my sisters and family but also for my parents. I would say, talk and listen to your parents.
As Greg stated along with his wife, Melanie, there’s peace of mind that follows when our parents are being cared for in a safe and healthy environment. We as boomers know within ourselves that once we do what’s best for the betterment of our loved ones, stress will be reduced and their increase of socializing and relationships will be one of the best decisions we can make for our parents.
To live with hope during this Independence weekend: by faith let us make loving selfless decisions to ensure forward steps for the betterment of our aging parents. The peace of mind that follows is sure to assist in our later years becoming our greatest.
Boomer children we want to hear from you
Share your stories of having baby boomer parents. Your concerns, hopes and dreams of having a more hope filled relationships and your thoughts of being considered sandwich in, if you live with your parents.
Tonya Lee Carrie Fancher is founder artistic director of God’s Freedom Fighter’s Int. Inc., an advocate for the freedom and liberty of high risk youth through mentorship, faith columnist and creative/artistic speaker. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org