Did you share a holiday dinner with a struggling senior? Have the basics become difficult for your senior parent? Is there a little dementia? Learn how to have “The Talk,” with a senior from author Diane Masson.
Happy holidays from Diane Masson and Tips2Seniors.com
“I am not ready yet.” Illustration courtesy of, “Your Senior Housing Options” book.
Every single one of us knows a senior who is struggling in their home. Some seniors silently suffer and others have a whole network of support from family and friends.
Daughters may call their mom once a day to inquire if her senior parent is okay OR no answer could mean they fell again and need help.
Result: Senior falls often lead to fractured hips, 911 calls, skilled nursing care with physically therapy and needing 24/7 care.
A son may set his senior parent up with medications in a pillbox and then call two or three times a day to make sure his parent has taken them.
Result: This can be effective until the senior says, “What are these pills for? I don’t want to take them.” Most family members are not there in person twice a day to make sure the senior ingests the pills.
Kind neighbors may make an extra plate of dinner every night and take it to their senior neighbor.
Result: Neighbors get frustrated and burned out, spending every single night away from their own family for one year or more. This type of support can’t go on and on.
Daughters may spend every other Saturday cleaning mom’s house, grocery shopping and setting up her senior parent to survive for another two weeks.
Result: Even if the daughter lives two hours away, this type of help eventually turns into every Saturday. If the daughter works full time, it can never be daily help, then what?
What is the answer to a senior struggling to manage in their home?
Result: It’s time to talk turkey with a senior.
There are five typical results in having “The Talk” with a senior:
Denial: “I am just fine living in my own home. I am not ready yet.”
Shutting down: “I don’t want to discuss this.”
Anger: “Why are you questioning my ability to be independent? Leave me alone.”
Confusion: “Don’t you want to come see me everyday? I don’t understand.”
Acceptance: “I understand that I have become a burden. Maybe it’s time to look at what my senior housing options could be. I am tired of being lonely. Will you help me look?”
In my 17-year senior housing career, my teams and I have helped thousands of seniors improve the quality of their life by making a planned move into an independent living, assisted living or Continuing Care Retirement Community. No one ever chooses memory care or skilled nursing, but those are options for many seniors (like my own in-laws) who waited too long and ended up in a health care crisis. Both my in-laws were hospitalized simultaneously in different hospitals and both their doctor’s told them they needed 24/7 care and could not return home. There was so much unnecessary suffering in my family and I don’t wish it on anyone. Such as my mother-in-law with dementia being given psychotropic medications (they don’t mix well). She has never been the same. Maybe my experiences can save you from a senior health care crisis?
Next week my blog will feature: 7 Tips to have “The Talk” with a Senior.
If this article struck a cord with you, please share it on social media to help others. If you have a friend or neighbor going through a struggle with a senior, let them know about next week’s blog.
Give the gift of knowledge: “Your Senior Housing Options” is an easy read with illustrations. It walks seniors and their adult children through the costs and pitfalls of navigating senior housing and includes the chapter on the “7 Deadly Sins of Searching for Senior Housing Options.”
News Flash: Diane Masson’s new interview on Generation Bold Radio will broadcast on Sunday, December 6th on the BizTalkRadio Network syndicated to 33 stations across the country.
Diane Masson is a senior living expert who has authored two 5-star rated books sold through Amazon. Her new book is an all-encompassing answer guide for seniors called, “Your Senior Housing Options,” designed to help seniors navigate choices quickly. The second book was written for senior living professionals called, Senior Housing Marketing – How To Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full. Reach out to her through her website: Tips2Seniors.com and read the weekly blog.
My mother moved into a not-for-profit Continuing Care Retirement Community. That’s where I started my senior housing career. I sold the not-for-profit status as better and more mission driven than the money grubby for-profits, because that was what all the not-for-profits said and did.
I was naive for three reasons, because later I learned:
A non-profit board that did not understand seniors or senior housing made financial decisions for the entire senior living community.
Most of the profits at the non-profit went towards other ministry work instead of being reinvesting back into the senior community.
A resident was sexual abused by a non-profit staff member, even though every employee professed to be Christian.
Then my senior housing career switched to for-profit. It can be pretty dog-eat-dog aggressive at some companies. It really varies in the senior living industry if the resident is number one or the stockholders are the primary concern. So you better find out before you consider moving there or working there.
If a sales person can’t hit the required sales numbers, you are simply fired at some for-profits. Maybe that’s why so many sales people are impersonal and just want to know if you are ready now? If a senior is not ready now, the sales person has no interest in calling a senior back after they have toured. This is sad, because most seniors need to come back several times before making a decision to move. A relationship needs to be built.
At for-profit senior living communities, most financial decisions go towards the benefit of the stockholders. But there are some amazing administrators that love, adore and would walk on hot coals for their residents and staff. So resident centered communities can vary by location and not the owner in my opinion.
There are actually two types of for-profits: Those on the stock exchange and boutique communities that are run by families or attentive owners. I am lucky to work for a for-profit that is run by attentive owners. They have the heart of a not-for-profit and are completely resident centered and mission driven.
The communities I represent do something very unique for Continuing Care Retirement Communities.They offer a Guarantee of Care for life, if a resident outlives their resources. Every resident has the same offer, it is not limited to 5 or 10 residents on a good Samaritan fund or foundation.
Do you agree with my analogies or am I completely off base? How would you evaluate the differences?
Your Senior Housing Options,”has a simplistic title, but what’s inside this new book can save a you months of research time. Hear Diane Masson’s interviewof how her mother and in-law’s faced the pivotal decision to plan ahead or wait until a crisis. Learn the pitfalls from transitioning from your home to senior housing. Understand what questions to ask, insider tips and dirty secrets revealed. For weekly tips join at: Www.Tips2Seniors.com
We all have storms in our lives. Maybe the storm is a death, sickness, or major life crisis. It could even be one of Mother Nature’s storms such as hurricane, tornado or earthquake. You or a senior you know may be going through a storm at this moment.
At some point the storm always ends. There is peace and calmness again. No one is the same after one of life’s storms. The length of the storm will most likely determine the amount of wisdom gained. One of my best friends is a breast cancer survivor. Now she uses the knowledge of her successful treatments and faith to help others. She can make someone elses cancer journey less scary. What a gift!
As retirement counselors in senior living and housing, we can provide that gift of knowledge to a senior considering a move. A senior may feel like they are in a storm processing a major life move to your community. Being pulled toward the benefits of living in a retirement community and simultaneously being drawn back to the security of their home can create conflict for a senior.
Here are a few tips:
First, a retirement counselor needs to acknowledge that a senior is facing an emotional decision (the storm). The decision is to plan ahead or wait until a health care crisis.
Second, if a senior chooses to wait until a health crisis they will be forcing their adult children to eventually “put them someplace” (bigger storm). Many seniors don’t realize this truth. Seniors are typically shocked to learn they will have a 66% chance of needing a higher level of care at some point like assisted living or skilled nursing care.
Third, if a senior moves into a senior living community that transitions them into higher levels of care like assisted living and skilled nursing care, it is a proactive choice to plan ahead (smaller storm for the senior and the family in the future).
Retirement counselors in senior housing should focus on educating seniors about their future health care choices and how your retirement community can be a solution.
If you have ever felt slightly sick standing on the deck of a boat in the ocean, the captain always tells you to look toward the horizon. Don’t focus on the waves that are swirling close around you. Look beyond to the distant skyline. Seniors need to visualize what they are gaining by making a move and planning ahead for their future care. Others can’t get past the overwhelming thought of the turmoil that moving will create for them.
The calm after a storm is usually filled with a sense of peace and wisdom.
Planning ahead could be the greatest gift a senior can give their children. When my mom moved into a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Seattle, WA, it was the smartest decision she ever made. Thank you mom!
How do you help educate seniors? What tips can you share?
“Your Senior Housing Options,” has a simplistic title, but what’s inside this new book can save a you months of research time. Hear Diane Masson’s interview of how her mother and in-law’s faced the pivotal decision to plan ahead or wait until a crisis. Learn the pitfalls from transitioning from your home to senior housing. Understand what questions to ask, insider tips and dirty secrets revealed. The decision to stay home requires caregivers. Prevent elder abuse by determining if a home care agency is reputable, before they move into your home. You are just not looking for today’s needs, but for your future care. Discover key differences between rental facilities vs Continuing Care Retirement Communities. Do you have enough financial resources if you need to be in a higher level of care for an extended period of time? For weekly tips join at: Www.Tips2Seniors.com
It is important that seniors make a plan while they are healthy and well OR they will find themselves in a situation where family members have to “put them someplace.” My in-laws waited for a health care crisis that you can read about HERE and the adult children were forced to “put them” in more supportive environments. The doctor told my father-in-law that he needed 24/7 assisted living care and another doctor required that my mother-in-law with Alzheimer’s move into a secured memory care simultaneously.
How do you find a good retirement community, assisted living, memory care or skilled nursing care? “Your Senior Housing Options,” gives tips and advice on exactly what questions a senior needs to ask in order to determine if a senior living provider is great or mediocre.
Almost every week I speak to 50 to 75 seniors about their future health care and housing options. Two months ago, I created a new presentation based on my book, “Your Senior Housing Options.” What an impact it has made. Seniors share how grateful they are for clear and concise information that they can apply immediately in making a decision for themselves. This is my passion and I want to help seniors make a wise choice.
The book articulates the costs and consequences of the various senior living options. I share the ramifications of waiting too long and how a senior can save money and stress by planning ahead.
Seniors can take away valuable tips they can utilize immediately as they begin to research and explore long-term health choices. Most seniors have no knowledge of how to select a reputable home care company or retirement community. It’s important to know states vary on requirements for caregiver training, drug screening and finger printing. Due diligence of care choices can prevent elder abuse!
Ultimately, a senior can continue to live by a river in Egypt called denial or they can make proactive decisions and create a plan for their future health care. It is scary for seniors to contemplate running out of resources in a higher level of care, but it can happen (my own mom ran out of money living in assisted living for seven years). Hopefully, seniors choose a plan that has a safety net, in case they run out of money.
Current presentations based on this new book are helping seniors make proactive decisions for their future health care needs. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a movement to educate seniors.