Chat @ Care-giving: Starting the Down-sizing Search

After years of gentle hints, a little cajoling and not a few terse exchanges, Mom finally agreed she and Dad need to downsize. She’s not ready to move yet, you understand, but she will participate in a little research.  I have some knowledge about retirement living.  I’ve discussed it with friends as they made decisions about what to do with their parents over the years.  My favorite aunt lives in a retirement center I frequently visit.  The novel I’m shopping to literary agents is set in a retirement center.  However, I hadn’t started any specific research concerning my parents until I had a green light.  I knew my Mom wouldn’t budge until she was absolutely ready and I didn’t want to waste time collecting information which would become obsolete before I needed it.

Even though I’d anticipated this job for quite a while, actually getting started was somewhat daunting.  Some people would call up a friend or read a book.  I had some materials that I’d casually collected over the year, but I started on the internet.  Typing “dallas retirement living” into my browser returned such a deluge of information that I spent the first few hours shifting through websites to get the lay of the land.  I discovered this task was not dissimilar to finding accommodations for a vacation.  Finding familiar footing, I began in earnest.

Retirement living falls into several categories.  Retirement communities of the Del Webb variety are not what Ruth and George want.  They’re past their days of tennis and golf.  Many apartments for senior citizens are available, but  Mom and Dad need a little more help.  However, they aren’t quite ready to move to assisted living, either.  That narrowed down my choices to independent living and continuing care.  Continuing care means that, whatever level of care they choose now and whatever they need in the future, it’s all there.   This has some reassuring aspects to it, but most of these facilities are vast acreages and I feared they’d be a little overwhelming.  Which left independent living.

Independent living is a catch-all term that might mean anything from an apartment with social activities to facilities barely distinguishable from assisted living.  Many independent living facilities also offer assisted living and perhaps that’s the reason the line between them becomes blurred.  Though I wanted Mom to at least visit a sample of each type of community, I felt our solution would most likely be an independent living facility, which also offered assisted living.  I also thought a continuing care facility would deliver peace of mind, if I could get Mom past the initial shock.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.  After a few hours of research, I felt like I’d taken that step.  As I move forward in this project, I’ll keep you abreast of where we are.  What advice do you have for me?

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