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How to Help your Aging Parents and Elderly Clinets Remain at Home

July 30, 2012

Years ago the reality of aging usually consisted of two choices–either the aging person went into a nursing home or lived with family members. Of course, there were exceptions, but those were the primary choices. Today’s aging population has different ideas about where they will spend their retirement years. Most people I’ve talked to have verbalized a desire to remain in their homes. This is often referred to as “Aging in Place.”

Start the dialogue by asking what your parents or elderly clients prefer. Most important in this conversation is that you LISTEN to their preferences, their reasoning, and their desires. Don’t rush to find a way to make it happen, let the process unfold over time.

In order to make a determination of where your aging parents or elderly clients will reside there are a number of factors to consider from both points of view:


Physical Condition

Mental Status

Overall Health

Proximity to Family Members

Need for Assistance

Desire for Assistance

Availability of Assistance

Negotiating Factors

Weigh the factors over time and remain open to ongoing dialogue. Given time, attitudes may change and you may find that your parents or clients are making suggestions or hinting they would like additional help. Remember, it is important for seniors to feel validated and respected. They have a right to their opinions and their freedoms. By engaging in meaningful dialogue the outcome is more likely to be beneficial for all parties and the collaborative efforts open other doors on harder subjects. Taking things slowly allows time for trial and error. It is important to rein in your own agenda to allow for compromise and negotiation.

Some seniors are perfectly fine on their own well into their eighties or nineties. Others get lonely and would like some company so setting up a house sharing arrangement may work for them. Then there are those with health issues or physical impairments who need structured routines and intense caregiving.  Regardless of what the situation is today it is also possible that in a few months, or possibly years there will be a different level of care needed.

Remaining open to suggestion, possibilities, and change allows you and your aging parents, or elderly clients, the flexibility to make decisions based on needs at any point in time.

What are your ideas on the subject? How would you start the dialogue with your parents or clients on this subject?

Thank you for reading my thoughts. I’d love to have you share your thoughts or stories in the comment section. Feel free to pass this information on to anyone who might find it useful.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. July 30, 2012 6:34 pm

    Sorry about the typo–I edited the post, but not the title. UGH!!!!

  2. July 31, 2012 8:21 pm

    This is great and important advice. Such a hard conversation to have with one’s parents. I know that I have tried to bring this subject up many times and it gets very emotional for all of us. Right now I am very fortunate that my 88 year old mother and almost 91 year old father are very independent – my Dad still drives (eeek!) locally, and my mother still putters in the yard. They live unassisted at the moment but I know that a time will come when additional decisions need to be made- thanks for providing a compassionate and logical approach!

    • August 2, 2012 1:41 pm

      Hi Patty,
      It’s great that your parents are still so active and involved. The difficulty comes in getting the discussions started. I suggest that family members start slowly and subtlely to introduce their concerns. It’s important your parents know that you respect their rights and their opinions, but they will hang on to that independence as long as they can. By speaking to them earlier, rather than later, about topics such as housing, giving up driving, finances, funeral plans, end-of-life preferences you would be letting them know you care and that you want their input. It’s like having insurance. If the topics are never discussed and something dire happens then they may not have their wishes honored because their wishes may not be known. An easy place to start the discussion is to just ask them what they envision for the net 5 or ten years of their lives. Then you can move to topics like Medical Power of Attorney for health care decisions and who they want to handle details about their estate. It’s a slow, step at a time process. When my book comes out there will be much more info on how to approach these issues.

      Thanks for commenting. Feel free to ask questions or tell of your own experiences.

  3. August 1, 2012 2:23 am

    you are right in what you have said. i was only thinking this the other day but i think i will now dig a little deeper.

    • August 2, 2012 2:26 pm

      Thanks Alejandra,
      I’d like to get a dialogue started on the topics postd in the blog. Feel free to add your comments or stories and share in the process. Aging in this country is an issue that is often ignored, but increasing in importance as the “boomers” age and face declining health. Hope to see you often.

  4. August 1, 2012 5:22 am

    really impressed! everything is very open and very clear explanation of issues. it contains truly information. your website is very useful. thanks for sharing.

    • August 2, 2012 2:23 pm

      Thanks Bernadette for your comment. I’m glad you liked the post. I hope you’ll get involved in asking questions and particpating in the dialogue. My book will go into more detail on all of the subjects posted on the website. Take care and I hope you’ll visit the blog often.

  5. August 1, 2012 8:35 am

    Very interesting subject, thanks for posting.

    • August 2, 2012 2:21 pm

      Thanks Steve, this subject is becoming more relevant as we have a larger demographic of individuals aging than ever before. I hope you’ll visit often.

  6. August 7, 2012 7:49 am

    Many of my clients who care for parents with memory issues find it helpful to label toiletry items and use signs around the house.

    Kelly Schaefer
    Artnip Dementia Signage for the Home

    • August 9, 2012 8:01 pm

      Thanks Kelly for commenting. I’m going to be writing more specifically about Alzheimer’s patients and those with dementia issues in my book, but probably not on the blog. I am however putting together a training program for the home care agency I run on how to deal comfortably with those who have memory issues. May I contact you for some tips and pointers when that takes place?

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