I hear the term "independent living" and think that is strange because where does the independence come in?

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Only if they have adequate funds to pay for in home assistance, good health, and children willing to prop up their illusion of independence.
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Reply to Bridger46164
Invisible Oct 13, 2020
That's netting it out.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines aging in place as "the ability to live in one's own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level".

My grandma, yes over 100 and still push mows a lawn. Other people I cared/care for, no, the Independent test is a failure.
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Reply to Stacy0122
disgustedtoo Oct 14, 2020
Some grandma you have! Tell her "You go girl!"

Other people - some aren't even old yet...
My mom was determined to "age in place" (my dad said "never sell the house; never pay high rent"). It turned out all the upgrades to the house had been done without permits.... Oy vey.

Mom was fine until she wasn't. She hired seasonal housecleaners, yard work guys and snow removal guys who showed up without being called. It all worked out GREAT until she was about 88.

Suddenly, she became unreasonably anxious about stuff that made no sense. We hired "visiting angels" who could keep mom company and who would do anything she asked. She refused to give them instructions; "they will break the washing machine; I need to talk to them all the time; I can't relax while they are here".

In addition, mom lived in a pretty isolated suburb with no sidewalks and no public transport. So any help had to have their own cars and in a snowstorm, couldn't get there or get home. Additionally, local pharmacies didn't deliver and she was reluctant to use grocery delivery services. Cab rides were "horrific" so someone needed to show up (were were all at least an hour away) to drive her to the doctor.

It became unsustainable. One memorable snowy day, when a truck spun out on ice in front of me and I appeared to be staring death in the face, (it was the 3rd day in a row that I had gotten "summoned" for an emergency) I got to her house and said "mom, I can't do this anymore".

If your parent can be "independent" on their own and on their own dime, that's great. What my mom was requiring of us was unsustainable and we pulled the plug on that.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
NobodyGetsIt Oct 9, 2020

I too tried bringing in "Visiting Angels" - your mom got farther with them than mine. The head of VA came with his assistant and we all sat at my mom's dining room table. He was getting frustrated with my mom's lack of cooperativeness and whispered to me that this wasn't going to work. His assistant was very sweet and tried to engage my mom but in the end it was a waste of all our time!

Sounds like the 3rd day in a row for a "summoned" emergency wasn't such a charm!
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Why are we choosing to suffer this way. If our parents were in their right mind, I would like to think that they would not have us be their butlers, cooks, personal assists and caretakers. They become needy and demanding of our time and resources without a glimpse of how it impacts us. Yes, they had us and raised us as it was their choice to do so. It does not automatically become our responsibility when they get older. Yes we can help them out but what does that help HAVE to look like? Does it have to be all consuming at the cost of our sanity and health? Or can that help look like us helping them to help themselves by helping them to find other resources that are designed to deal with their aging issues? I have learned entirely too many new things about aging and caring for aging people, more than I ever wanted to know. But with this new info, I will better be able to make choices for myself as I age. Choices that would not put stress and Strain on my children. Where is it written that we must suffer the consequences of our elder parents and loved ones? It is a sweet thought that we can be there for them and we can. We just don’t need to takeit all on. They may not like the way you are helping by offering suggestions if outside help or independent or assisted living and somehow us dutiful children bow to their displeasure by choosing to take on their suffering and continue trying to make them happy. A quick question; how many of your parents gave you the choice as a child to go to school or daycare or have a babysitter? I would say I never had that choice. That is how they cared for us when we were young, by setting up care for us when they were not around. We may not have liked it but we became used to the idea. Maybe it is time we take that same simple cue and stop trying to make them happy and choose to instead make them safe, just like they did for us when we were unequipped to make good choices for ourselves.
just a thought🙏🏼🧚🏼‍♂️ It does not have to be all or nothing.
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Reply to AKATammy
Isthisrealyreal Oct 13, 2020
Good points AKATammy.

I often wonder when people compare taking on our parents care and to them raising us if they ever consider that children did as they were told. I didn't have a say in my life until I left home and I surely would not have been pampered to get compliance. They would have tanned my hide and then I would have done whatever I was told with a spanking instead of without. We can't do that to our elders, so how is it comparable?
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I think the question is more like “is it realistic” rather than “is it possible”. It’s always “possible” but not always realistic. If that makes sense. For many elders, aging at home requires a village and money. A lot of elders have neither of those.
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Reply to worriedinCali
NeedHelpWithMom Oct 13, 2020
Oh, so true! It only took a few good words to express the plain and simple truth! Great post, Cali.
Annie, I hear the term "independent living" and think that is strange because where does the independence come in? My parents were in their early 90's and were still living in their single family home.... lot of stairs.

Oh how I wished I had set boundaries but didn't know I could. This forum suggested practice saying in the mirror "I can't possibly do that" over and over until it becomes comfortable. Your parents may look at you like your hair is on fire, and you may feel guilty, but the more you enable your parents to stay in their home the more they will ask of you.

Sadly, it took a medical emergency to get my parents out of their home. Mom [98] had to go into a nursing home. Dad was soooo ready to move out of the house, sold it, and moved into senior living, which he really loved being around people closer to his age group.
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Reply to freqflyer

Like Stacy said.😊To stay in your home you need to be independent in all things. When the children feel they need to or are asked to mow the lawn, do upkeep, and clean the house...the house has become too much for the parents. They should either hire the people to do the work or they downsize. At 65 I was lucky to get my own house cleaned let alone my mothers. She did hire someone to mow but up until then she had done it herself. Never asked us. I read where some of the female members mow lawns for a parent. Have never done it (I had brothers) and never will. If my husband goes first and we are still here, I will sell and downsize. I wish I had talked my Mom into downsizing.

So no its not realistic. Too many variables. Its too late to "groom" our parents but we should have told them when they retired...Make plans to downsize because I will not be able to take on the burden of caring for your home and mine too. If u plan on staying where you are, then plan on hiring people to do the work when u no longer can. And realize, that as you age your needs will be more and you need to realize that your children have lives of their own. That they maybe willing to help but they can't do it all. You will have to compromise.
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Reply to JoAnn29
LittleOrchid Oct 13, 2020
I really agree with you. It would be best if we could have frank discussions with our parents when they were truly independent about what changes might come up. Mostly, we don't because the changes are so gradual that we don't realize they are happening. In my case, my sisters and I were doing very little things for Mom in the beginning and we were young enough to do things for her and also take care of our own homes.

The problem is that things change. Mom got steadily less capable and so did we. You can count on that. Somehow, we didn't really think about that 5 years ago. After all, what we were doing were such small things, it didn't seem that big of a deal.

Now Mom does not have the capability to understand that she is in no way independent. She is totally unwilling to move and has no problem with expecting her daughters to do whatever it takes to keep her in her home. We should have set limits back when she could have understood what we were talking about. Also the two sisters who started doing her housework for her should have told her frankly that doing/arranging for housework is part of "aging in place." If she was unable or unwilling to do the housework it was time to relocate.

My husband and I do live in our own home. We are currently 69 and hope to remain here for another decade or so. However, we have made a promise to our sons that we will only do so as long as we can manage the routine maintenance of the house, the gardening and the housekeeping. We hire help as needed, but when dealing with it gets to be too much for us we will move into a senior residence. We want our visits with our sons and grandchild to be about enjoying each other, not about having them do our work for us.
Whew. What a great question. I'm smack in the middle of this journey as we speak.

My 88 year old Mom lived alone without any assistance for many years. My Dad passed almost 15 years ago, and she never fully got over the loss. She still has his things in his medicine cabinet.

Mom did (reasonably) well for the first few years, but then we noticed a steady decline. The house got dirty. She stopped showering. Her odor and the odor of the house became overpowering. She was hospitalized twice for a UTI, directly related to her hygiene. She fell twice and the police came on both occasions.

All through this, she refused help at every turn. We encouraged. We cajoled. We begged. Always the same answer. "I don't want anybody in my house. You just want me to live the way YOU want me to." And on and on it went. For years.

This came to a crisis just this August. She got lost on the way home from the store - not from memory impairment - there were trees down on her street following a hurricane and she simply forgot the alternate routes. After hours of panic, and not knowing where she was, I finally got a call from her. She was in a parking lot not far from her home. I called the police to escort her home. All long distance, mind you. I live out of state.

As fate would have it, the attending officer had seen her a year ago after a fall. He saw her decline, and the decline in the house. He called me and told me point blank she couldn't drive anymore. He also said if he had to come back to respond to another fall or any other kind of emergency that he would file a report with APS, and my brother and I could be held liable.

I relayed all of that to her in a phone call the next day, and told her we all needed to discuss what kind of care she would need going forward. She called me later that afternoon saying she thought she was having a stroke. I called 911 and she was admitted to the hospital with another UTI and severe dehydration. She ended up in rehab for a month.

Now she's at home, with care 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. She doesn't sleep in her bedroom or take showers, even with caregivers there, because her bedroom and shower are upstairs, and she's afraid of falling. She spends all her time on her couch, calling me and her friends to complain about her caregivers and her complete lack of privacy. She hates her current situation, but is too paralyzed by fear of change to make the leap to assisted living. She can only continue her routine at home for another 3 years max - then she's out of money. Then she'll HAVE to sell her house and move to an ALF.

Meanwhile, she sees nobody but her caregivers. She never goes out. She lives in a nightgown and hospital socks. My Mom. Who used to be a vibrant, social, cultured woman, who taught me everything I know about food, fashion and living well. It breaks my heart to see this happen.

As Stacy0122 says below: The U.S. CDC and Prevention defines aging in place as "the ability to live in one's own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level".

Enough said. Best of luck to you and best thoughts!
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to Loutre1313
Invisible Oct 13, 2020
Your mom needs someone to help her find AL that is appealing to her. It's overwhelming to her now to make such a decision and to tour these places by yourself is a drag. The move is easier to do before you are desperately looking for someplace to put her.
That is such a loaded question.

There are sooooooooooooooo many variables that change the response to people aging at home (in place).

1st and most importantly, from my view point, what is the health of all parties involved? If it is not good, then planning to remain in the house is not going to be easy.

Keeping seniors at home is really the best idea, but not when they impinge on their families lives to the point that they don't have one.

If you need help with everything, you need to be in a facility. It is unfair to put the stress of another person(s) on anyone. People can not be on call 24/7, work fulltime, raise children or interact with them if adults, be 100% responsible for the wellbeing of an aged parent and expect to retain their own health and wellbeing. We need to be able to de-stress, sleep and take care of our basic needs.

I think that you have to be able to know when it becomes more than is realistic, no matter what the elders say, if they need more than you can provide and keep yourself healthy then you need to be able to say enough. Be sure that you can say no, no more, I can't do that and you accept outside help or you have to go to a facility, before you take on caregiving. If not, you will be used up by someone that wants to stay home, even at the expense of your very life. 40% is not a small chance of dying before the person you are caring for.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
NobodyGetsIt Oct 9, 2020

All of your points are things to be considered - sounds like that would be a great "checklist!" I wish I had something like that when I began this journey 16 years ago. As I've said several times before - you don't know, what you don't know.
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When my Father died, my Mother was all set to move into Assisted Living but she changed her mind. They lived in a condo, so maintenance was not an issue. A few years later, she fell outside on an icy sidewalk and broke her arm. When she came home from hospital, she was unable to care for herself, so I got 24/7 live-in caregiver. That worked until my Mother got better and did not want "a stranger" living in her condo. So she lived alone until memory problems creeped up and she was diagnosed with Dementia. A 9am to 5pm Care Giver was hired just to make sure my Mother got up out of bed and had breakfast, lunch, dinner and was driven to store and Doctor appointments. This worked for 5 years until my Mother started falling a lot and Care Giver was afraid to leave my Mother alone at night. I moved her into Memory Care and the past two years have been guilt-free knowing that my Mother is looked after 24/7 by an entire staff of dedicated professionals. Keep parents in home as long as you can but know that probably eventually they will need to go to some sort of residential facility be it Assisted Living or Memory Care. GOOD LUCK !!! :-)
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Reply to LonelyOnlyChild

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