With people of my generation being more active and independent, it will be more difficult to make the transition in our elder years into a supportive living facility or a nursing home. My stepmother is 91 and living in a senior community that provides independent living, supportive living, and nursing facilities so as her needs may change, she will have to make minimal changes nor put us through the stress of deciding what is right for her if it should be in conflict with what she desires. They also provide cleaning services by a cleaning franchise, hair styling salon on the first floor of each “community” along with a bank, postal service, and transportation. She is fortunate to be able to afford to live in a quality senior community. There are many elders that can’t. One way to save this huge expense is to be cared for at home…although it may have costs that you can’t measure in dollars.
My husband’s mother, on the other hand, chose to stay in her home until the end. Because her health was failing, maintaining her quality of life in her home was very important because that was where she wanted to be. Her oldest son was able to move in with her since he was unmarried and retired. It was very difficult for him for he chose not to have a home health care assistant. My husband who is also retired was able to help as much as he could. But since his brother lived with their mother he was affected much more…he never had a break from it. As their mother’s cognitive functioning decreased, she became more dependent on my brother-in-law which made it more difficult for my husband to help.
My brother-in-law did the shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry and took care of her grooming needs. He was her companion and her caregiver. When she passed away, he was 54 but he looked 74. Taking care of my mother-in-law for 10 years took so much out of him, it affected his health. He became the one who needed a caregiver to help him recover from an ailing heart condition – a condition that was a long time coming.
As I look forward to 20 years from now, I wonder which I will choose. I must remember that it is important to take my children and husband into consideration when making such choices as to how I want to live out my remaining years. I have a living will but I believe it is important to make the choices on where and how I live out my elder years now while I have my full cognitive abilities.
Where and how do you want to be taken care of in your elder years? Who will take care of you?