It’s a disagreement that arises for many families: seniors adamantly would like to age in place in their own homes, while their relatives worry about their well-being. And there’s a debate to be made in both scenarios. Seniors, particularly those who live alone, encounter a range of risks: falls that may lead to significant injury, trouble in keeping up the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed as aging progresses, even a vulnerability to scam artists. Yet independent living is vital to self-worth, regardless of age.
Striking a balance that suits the needs of both sides may be challenging, but there are lots of critical factors to think of that can help.
- Let go of ageism. Though there is undoubtedly legitimacy to concerns over safety for aging parents in the home, particularly if they live alone, the other side of the picture is our perception of aging. Pioneer Network President/CEO Penny Cook explains, “Our negative perception helps marginalize older adults. They become ‘less than’ because that helps us cope and then we take on the parental model.” A change in this reasoning lets us retain the respect for seniors that they so rightly deserve, and to recognize how important it can be in order for them to continue to be as independent as possible during the course of aging.
- Know their rights. Legally, unless seniors are having difficulties with cognitive challenges, they continue to have the ability to make decisions independently – even when the choices made are not the ones we would have selected for them. Attorney Barbara Cashman explains, “Even if I decide to give my money away, a judge could say that it’s my money and my choice what to do with it.”
- Communicating is essential. As with every disagreement, calm, rational conversations are definitely the best weapon in diffusing stressful situations and reaching an answer that actually works for all. Sit down with your senior loved one and talk about your concerns, but be ready to listen with an open mind to his or her thoughts and views. Recognize that a resolution most likely will not be reached in one single conversation; use an initial conversation as a starting point, and agree to revisit the matter periodically to reassess.
Most importantly, be aware that there’s a viable option: the experienced in-home care services of JFS Care. We are able to help in many different ways to maximize well-being, delivering family caregivers peace of mind, while empowering your loved one to maintain independence, making his or her own choices and decisions in the comfort and familiarity of home. Call 213-383-2273 or contact us online for a consultation and to learn more about our in-home care in Santa Monica and the surrounding areas.