Saturday, March 31, 2012

My Eldercare Blog is Two Years Old: Thanks, Readers!

Happy belated birthday to Boomers Guide to Eldercare! Last month the blog celebrated its second year. You faithful readers deserve an applause!

Who are you? You're either eldercare professionals or adult children--usually Boomers--grappling with issues relating to your aging parents.

What draws you to this blog? Of the 112 posts so far, here are the most popular subjects (with a sample post):

1. Finding Affordable Senior Housing--Affordable Senior Housing: Three Models

2. Selling Your Parent's Home--How to Sell Your Parent's Home in Seven Days

3. Using a Senior-Care Referral Agency--Before Using a Senior Care Referral Agency, Ask These Questions

4. Writing a Great Thank-you Note to Your Parent's Caregiver--Writing a Great Thank-You Note--Here are Samples

5. Making the Most of Long-Distance Caregiving--Now You See Them, Now You Don't: Long-Distance Caregiving

Do you have any additional topics which interest you?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Searching for Retirement Living for Your Aging Parent? Three Top Places to Start

Here, there and everywhere. Retirement and assisted living communities, that is. How do you find the right one for your aging parent? According to Steve Wright of Wright Mature Market Services, here are the top three methods Boomers use to begin their search:

1. Referral sources--friends, professionals such as doctors, nurses, social workers and senior centers are all good places to start. Most cannot recommend one community. Instead, they refer. The difference is subtle. "Here's a list of communities you might visit," a social worker might tell you. If you ask, "Are there a few that your clients have had good luck with?" she may point you to her top two or three. Bingo! You've narrowed the field. Another source of information is your friends whose parents live in a community. Hopefully, they're happy with their choice and want to help you.

2. The Internet--Most Boomers do at least half of their search online, before even setting foot in a community, says Wright. They often search words such as "Medicaid," "affordable senior housing," "continuing care retirement community," etc. When I view a website, I look for a "taste" of community life. I pay close attention to testimonials, which are powerful in telling the community's story. I look for photos depicting seniors having fun.

3. Advertisements--this is a distant third. Direct mail pieces, invitations to events, strong signage, all can help you look around to check out the community further.

Can you think of other methods you've used to find the best retirement community for your aging parent?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Eldercare Dilemma: As the Only Child, You're Stretched Too Thin!

You're the only child of an aging parent. Or perhaps you're just the only one involved, since your siblings can't or won't help. Either way, your role offers double the joy, or double the trouble. Or some of both, depending on the day.

Last week I sat across the table from a devoted--and understandably perplexed--only son of one of our residents. His mom was exhibiting dangerous behavior; assisted living or an adult family home was the answer. But this feisty woman would have none of that!

"I'm not sure what to do," her son said. Our Executive Director started a conversation about behaviors, options, and next steps. At the end of our time together, we had an initial plan that we could come together to evaluate soon.

"If your mom must leave her apartment, I will tell her," our Executive Director said, adding, "You don't need to be the bad guy. Your job is to be the son."

Good advice for any only child--or the only one caring the load. Lean on friends and professionals whenever possible. Shelve the guilt or the martyr role.

That way, you can be what you're destined to be. Your aging parent's child. Period.
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