Baby boomers have a lot on their plates. In addition to raising families and planning for their own retirement, many of them are also caring for aging parents. A common concern among this group of people known as the “sandwich generation": What will happen when a parent is no longer able to live independently?
If you’re in this situation and wondering whether or not the time is right for your elderly loved one to put his or her name on a retirement home waitlist, here’s what you need to know.
Avoid a “crisis-driven decision”
No one likes to think about the loss of independence that often accompanies the aging process. However, it’s very much a fact of life for many seniors. While putting off this decision may seem easier in the short-term, it can have serious long-term repercussions.
For starters, elderly people who continue living at home after they’re no longer safely able to do so on their own are at increased risk of everything from malnutrition to falls to social isolation.
However, the issues don’t end there. Contends Richard Eisenberg for Next Avenue, “There’s a huge, scary disparity between the types of homes growing numbers of older Americans will need over the next 20 years and their availability and affordability.”
By putting off the decision, you may be reducing your parents’ chances of finding a spot in a Cincinnati senior living community if such a move becomes inevitable.
Getting on a waitlist early guarantees that seniors have options while giving their adult children invaluable peace of mind. As Maribeth Bersani, the chief operating officer of Argentum, a national association that represents assisted-living facility operators, told Kiplinger, this is not the case for families who wait too long and end up making desperate, “crisis-driven” decisions.
More options and more control
For many older adults, the prospect of moving into a senior living community can feel like a loss of control. However, encouraging aging loved ones to get on a waitlist while they can be involved in the decision-making process is actually one of the best ways to empower them.
Senior living communities will vary widely in lifestyle options, care services, and amenities offered. What are your parents’ wants, needs, and goals? They may have different preferences.
For example, some facilities may provide a resident doctor, skilled-nursing care and physical therapy, whereas others provide only minimal healthcare services. Some communities have concierge services, in-apartment dining, happy hours, and top-notch fitness centers.
Many senior living communities also allow people on the waitlist to reserve their favorite accommodations. So whether your parent wants a room with a view on a top floor or to be steps away from a beautiful garden where he or she can continue their horticultural hobby, the community will let them know when it becomes available so they can claim it, if they’re ready. And if not, a few communities like our Marjorie P. Lee in Hyde Park, let them maintain their spot on the waitlist. In other words, it can be a win-win.
Freedom to change their minds
While most senior communities do require a deposit to be added to a waitlist, many of these deposits are fully refundable. If your aging loved one is hesitant about joining a waitlist, they are likely to be relieved to know they have the option to change their mind at any point along the way.
Ask questions such as, if your parents are offered an apartment, are they penalized if they decide not to accept it? Or, would they continue to move up on the list, ensuring that their wait would be minimal if and when they are ready to move.
Another benefit for older adults who are reluctant to put their names on a senior living waitlist: Some communities view future residents as “members” with access to events and amenities. Connecting with current members of the community while participating in community activities can help seniors experience for themselves the many benefits of retirement community living in Cincinnati.
While it may not be pleasant to contemplate a future in which your parents can no longer live independently, it’s a looming reality for many seniors. Encouraging your aging parents to put their name on a senior living waiting list ensures that their changing needs will be met throughout their golden years.
For those who are interested in the premier living choices and the waitlist at Marjorie P. Lee, we have some exciting news: our long-term care communities will soon be getting a new look as well as offering new services. Visit our website to learn more about these upcoming changes to the Berghamer, Amstein, and Rookwood Houses.