It’s a conversation you should have

By Susan Braley
Are you a caregiver? Do you have a parent or senior relative that you provide help to?  Are you one of the ones who has “sandwich duty” with young children pulling you in one direction and elderly parents pulling you in the other… and a career as well? Have you ever been cross, angry or inpatient with Mom? You may be facing the “CAREGIVING CONUNDRUM”.  Over 25 million Americans are caring for elders – spending weekends  on the road, stopping by to take care of chores, taking days off from work to take Mom to a doctor’s appointment, etc.
Many of you know caregivers. Families who are attempting to support older relatives still in their own homes who are becoming less and less able to manage, face additional stress.  Are they eating properly?  Taking their medications on time?  Becoming forgetful about their safety?  Still driving? Wandering? You know that a nursing home is not the answer. They aren’t sick; they just need a little more help with their daily routine.  You know that their quality of life isn’t the best, (many days they are alone).  You also know that that Mom or Dad, Aunt or Uncle is not going to easily give up their independence or the home they worked so hard for. Would an assisted living choice be an appropriate solution?
Where do you start? It makes sense to look at all options. Is Mom willing to move closer to you or does she need to stay in her own area? Most seniors want stay in their community- swapping doctors or moving away from friends can be too overwhelming. If this is the case, then look at what’s available in her area. Retirement communities come in all shapes and sizes. Some are independent living only, some offer different levels of care- including assisted and memory care options. Some are privately owned, nonprofit, or run by large corporations. Some are rental; some are purchase- (called a life or continuing care community). Whatever style or whatever type you choose -try for a permanent solution. You don’t want to have to move Mom again if she requires more care in the future. Weigh your options and make the move. Your visits will then become actual visits- not chores. What a difference when you can actually stop by on your way home from the ball game and talk and visit with Mom. How convenient, that she is now in the neighborhood. Take the steps now to take care of Mom. And,  who know’s? You just might feel better yourself.

Susan Braley has worked in Senior Living for over seven years and is currently the Marketing Director at the Imperial Club Retirement Community in Aventura. She can be reached at 305-935-1801.

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