Friday, 29 January 2016

Relocation Worries

I read an article the other day about a survey a retirement home company did with the children of seniors in an effort to discover the 3 main concerns people have about moving an elder loved one to a care/retirement home. The 3 most common worries are reported to be: having the "talk", making the right choice and feeling guilty. None of these issues are surprising and indeed we have been addressing all three for the many years we have been working on our website and book and when giving lectures to different groups of people.

I do believe that the fix for all of these issues is opening up communication with aging relatives early on - before anyone needs any help or needs to consider relocation. The trick, which is far easier said than done, is convincing people that they need to have this conversation BEFORE they need to consider options. More often than not, people are afraid to discuss the topic of care and relocation so they put it off until at best, options are limited and at worst, there are no options. Try as I may, I simply cannot convince people that it's far easier to raise a difficult topic when it's not staring you in the face. If it takes time to come to a decision - and you have that time - and you have planned ahead - then finding the right place is easy and guilt is minimal if not, non-existent.

I suspect that the generation of boomers, who are now in the process or have been through the process of helping to relocate a parent, will be more inclined to plan ahead for themselves knowing what the reality was for them. That being said, it may be another 15 - 20 years before the lessons learned from the past translate into making things easier for those who follow.

So, for those who have not planned ahead and are faced with aging relatives who may or may not need care here are some thoughts on how to address the three concerns....
1. Have the talk ASAP - your concerns will not go away just because you refuse to discuss them. Be honest. Involve trusted others if necessary. Be understanding and supportive. We have many suggestions on how to deal with this conversation in our book and in our PDF - Care Options for Seniors (which is an excerpt of the book)
2. Take the time to look around and investigate options. Don't just choose a place from a list. Go and visit. Try a meal. Speak to people. Get references. Encourage your loved one to participate in decision making and stay for a trial period if it is offered. This only works though if you have time. If you are in the situation where you are under pressure from a hospital or a caregiver to make quick choices, you may cut corners and then the place you choose may not be best for your loved one. Again, the more time you have to make this decision the better the chances that you will choose a place that is the 'right one' for your loved one. Our book has a long list of questions to ask when you are on tour or you can download the questionnaire from our website (Retirement Home and Long-Term Care Visiting Tips).
3. If the decision is made with the consent of your loved one and they feel like they have been an active participant in making the choice and the move, guilt is minimal if at all. The key to all of this is having the "talk" early enough that they are able to participate in planning and decision-making.

It all comes down to time. We all have an endless amount of time until we don't. Having the hard conversations early enough makes all the difference in terms of choices, adjustment and emotional well-being.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Caring for the young and old under one roof

A nursing home and a daycare centre under one roof! What a concept! It's not surprising that it works so well in Providence Mount St. Vincent in Seattle that they have a huge waiting list for their daycare and are now the subject of a documentary to be released next year. Children have a way of making people smile. They thrive on interaction and learning from others. They make the old feel young; helping them remember days gone by. They give us hope for the future and with any luck, will learn from mistakes of the past
In a multi-generational setting, there is the ability to inject vitality into a place usually associated with illness and frailty. Young children interacting with seniors may even be the solution to combatting ageism. Imagine learning from seniors from a young age; an age where we see their value rather than negating their worth  - would that not lead to a lifelong appreciation for older adults and their contribution to the world? 
In the past, when multiple generations of one family lived under one roof, it was common for children to learn from their grandparents and have respect, understanding and patience for their elders. In today's world, families are scattered, often in different countries, if not cities and few children grow up living with, or even in close proximity to, grandparents. That most definitely impacts one's view of the older generation. The more we can encourage multi-generational interaction, respect and learning, the more the barriers created by age will be diminished. 
Apparently, this type of a setting exists in Japan, Canada and the US, though since it is not something widespread enough to be common knowledge, one can only assume that it's on a smaller scale in other locations. When searching for information on these settings, the one that comes up repeatedly is Providence Mount St. Vincent but I do think that by and large it has more to do with the publicity about documentary than the concept. 
That being said, now that 'the word it out' maybe it's time to start thinking about bringing this idea or innovation to more daycare centres and nursing homes. It seems that the results can only be positive, for all involved and society as a whole.

Friday, 8 January 2016

19 years and counting!

Happy New Year to all of our followers!

New beginnings for a new year .... as we have done for the past 19 years, our new book was released this past week. It's hard to believe that we have recreated our 'Guide' 19 times but when I pull out our first edition, I realize how many changes we have made over the years to keep it current and provide the best possible information to those at the stage of seeking retirement living options. Always looking for new information to share with our readers, our section 1 continues to grow and change annually. As changes to homes and resources happen frequently, the other sections of the book are also very different from one year to the next enabling us to create a brand new book from beginning to end, every year.

While there are an increasing number of options for those seeking to relocate in retirement, and vast amounts of information about them all over the internet, sometimes what is most difficult is figuring where and when to begin. Often seeking out information can be overwhelming, especially when one considers changing so much that is familiar in their lives.With years of understanding behind us, our goal is to help people figure out the option that is best for them. We continue to create a book that is a bit of a 'one stop shop' on retirement containing information on options, and resources one might need to get to where they want to be. While some homes are opting out of print to be online only, many still feel as strongly as we do; having our information in a book format is very relevant and important for so many still - especially seniors, their families and professionals who work with them. For those who use our book, if you can't find something there, do check our website as we are constantly adding information online - failing that, we are always open to being contacted to assist, explain and provide information.

For those wishing to purchase our new 2016 Guide, please go to our online store to order your copy in book, CD or PDF Formats at

Please feel free to let us know if there is additional information you would like us to add to our next book..........

Our thanks go out to all who participated in our 2016 Guide and to those of you who use it and refer others to it.