A Place for Dad-Exploring Living Options

Even to your old age  and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.  Isaiah 46:4

Hello there!

When you get to senior age, you may need to explore your living options.  You may decide to stay where you are, or downsize to a smaller place, join a living community, live with a relative, or have to stay in a facility where you can get the care and security you need if none of the above is an option.  As we get closer to that age, we are beginning to consider a few of those options. However, what about our older senior parents who are still alive? They are in that season right now.  How do you decide what options are best for your senior parents, or how do they decide what is best if they still are able?

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/aging/elder-care/5-senior-living-options1.htm

Living Options Dilemma

My dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s several years back.  He still lived alone in his own house at that time.  Since he was in the beginning stages,  he was not in imminent danger or anything.  Dad drove, cooked, cleaned house, dressed and cared for himself and his dog, and even went dancing at senior centers.  Hence, he was a fairly active senior citizen.

My siblings and I all lived several states away, however, we were concerned about dad and started doing research.  We explored living options and started to prepare ourselves for what was to come.  The doctor prescribed medication for Dad and he was doing well.  He kept his doctor appointments regularly and functioned as he always had.

Back in the eighties he had started driving the some 1800 miles to go see his kids.  We enjoyed his visits and were glad to see him.  When he developed Alzheimer’s, the trips became a source of anxiety for all of us.  He would start on a trip fine, but by the second day of driving he would get lost or pass out from low blood sugar.  Next, one of us would receive a call from the doctor or police station. Finally we planned which one of us was available to go pick him up and get him home. After a few days of visiting, he felt fine and had forgotten how he arrived.

We took him to visit houses and assisted living places in our area.  He seemed very open, but said he needed to sell his house first.   Much as we understood,  we offered to help, but he refused.  Eventually, we arranged for a neighbor(a retired nurse) to check on him everyday and take him a meal so we knew he’d be getting fed and have an idea he was doing okay.  This went on for a couple years.

Freebies examples:

Decision Time

One day my uncle(dad’s only living sibling)took my dad to a doctor appointment.  Dad could no longer legally drive at that point.  Since the doctor wasn’t happy with my dad’s communication skills; he evaluated further him for a  period of a few days.  Furthermore, they decided that my dad could no longer live alone.   Then my brother and uncle took steps to take care of dad’s needs.

Since we lived several states away, it took a while to find a place.  Even though the doctor preferred a memory care facility,  my brother found a place that would accept him in assisted living as they assessed him still capable of it.   As a result, we explored a few different options.

Should we move him to live with one of us?    Would a memory care or assisted living home be better?  Perhaps a smaller residential home that provided such care with fewer residents would work?  Could he keep his dog?   Would the VA help with expenses and how to get that started ?  What about dad’s house and vehicles and other belongings?  Finally,  what about medical care?  Since we needed input from someone else, both my brother and I did consult with someone to advise and do research based on what our needs were.  Consequently, the organization I used was called  A Place For Mom.

Probably some of you may have faced a similar situation and had to make choices on what was best for your aging parent.   What affected your decisions?   It is obvious that no one choice is best for all, each situation is a little different.  The parent’s health, mental condition, financial assets, and family support is different in each case.  I’d love to hear from some of you what worked for you and why.   Consequently here is a survey you might do to help out with the information posted in this blog. 

    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7BSXHKX

Thanks for your time!

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the things which you think you cannot do.”— Eleanor Roosevelt

 

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About Transitioning to Retirement

“Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”  Ephes. 5:15,16.

Hello there  C. O. S readers!

I have  been wondering a lot more lately about transitioning into retirement.  What is transitioning anyway?    As I looked it up I came across a definition like this:  “a movement, process, change from one stage, state, position, subject, etc; to another”.     When I try to do research I find there is a lot out there about transitioning into retirement.  I have read about as little as 3 stages up to 6 or 7.   Hubby has been talking about it and we know it is approaching.  Since I know definitely that it is coming soon,  what do I expect?  Will things flow smoothly?  Will I have to make major adjustments or major decisions and if so, can I start now or do I have to wait till it is imperative or legal to make certain decisions?

STAGES

Life is managed a lot in  stages.   In my own  life,  I can personally think of many transitions I have made through the years. I am remembering , for example, from childhood to adulthood, from singleness to marriage, from childless to fruitfulness, from spring season to autumn season, from non-believing to believing.  We can find stages life, stages of death, stages of marriage or divorce, stages of grief or loss, stages of love, stages of pregnancy, stages of change, of sleep,  and stages of dementia or cancer.   Therefore, why not talk about stages of retirement?   It helps to break events up into stages that we can go through a little bit at a time.  It is easier to measure our progress and makes the events of life more manageable.   The stages of retirement can be found on quite a few different sites.

Not only can you find the different stages of retirement, but you can find websites that deal with  just financial preparation, others with psychological aspects, and still others discuss the emotional aspects.

I will mention the emotional stages here briefly.  I found these on this site   and is mentioned in at least one other blog I know of.

  • Pre-retirement-The Planning time
  • The Big Day-Smiles, handshakes, farewells
  • Honeymoon Phase- I’m Free!
  • Disenchantment-This is it?
  • Reorientation- Building a New Identity
  • Routine-Moving On

THE NITTY GRITTY

Right now, I am in the planning stage of transitioning to retirement,  so what does that mean?  Yeah, retirement is in the future.    Our health is fairly good and our house is paid for.  Perhaps adjusting the budget is the next thing to work on.   Then maybe down sizing and or moving from our nice sized home to a smaller one.  Also I  definitely think we will need part-time jobs for each of us focus on.  Besides that we should be able to focus on some hobbies, maybe go traveling?  I am one who dislikes changes and if I have to change, would rather do it gradually; easing into it.  Just thinking about all these changes almost overwhelms me,therefore the more time I have to prepare, the better it usually goes for me.

However, one article I read said this:  “As reality sets in, only 24% of boomers express confidence that they will have enough resources in retirement vs. 37% five years ago.”  Therefore, it is a concern.  My understanding is that the millennial generation now outnumbers the baby boomers, but some 60 million or so boomers is a good portion of the present population.  Conclusively, we need to get busy planning boomers!   It is fast approaching.

But to sum it all up,  transitioning to retirement will involve and affect everyone in a family in some way. Planning and preparing is  not something that should be taken lightly.  From financial changes, physical changes, changing living arrangements, social activities, emotional and spiritual changes…….. Be serious and thoughtful about how all this will play out and don’t just take it for granted in our changing economy that everything will work out.   “Also in terms of the difficulties that come with retirement whether it is health or financial, I think these are crucial conversations to be having with the next generation. It is really a family project when people retire, and financial or health problems are a natural part of almost every families’ lives and members should discuss how everybody collectively be clear-eyed and speak frankly about what a future is and how to best plan.”

One assurance I do hang on to in spite of all the changes that may come, our God remains the same. He is timeless and unchanging, and for Him one day is as a thousand years. Though all His works may come to end, “But Thou art the same, And Thy years will not come to an end.” Psalm 102: 27  I am so grateful I have an unchanging God to see me through this transition into retirement as well as all the other transitions in life.

By the way if you wish to comment, click on the post title on the right and it will bring up the post for you to comment at the bottom. Thanks!

“Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.”  Fred Rogers

Traveling Tips

 

“He leadeth me, O blessed thought, O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!  Whate’er I do, where’er I be
Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.” Lyrics He Leadeth Me

To Texas and Back

Almost home!  Not much longer. We took a drive out to Texas and back in a week. It doesn’t sound like much of a trip as we were not gone that long, but we enjoyed it nevertheless. We’d at least checked on that traveling tip before we left. The weather looks great, sunny and clear but cooler than when we left. We expected that as a cold front was moving in.

 

I love to travel! When I was young we didn’t travel much as we had a very limited income and little to nothing to spend on taking trips or vacations. When my mom did marry again, we did travel to Mexico occasionally. I don’t remember those times as being pleasant at all. We often stopped and just slept in the car, all seven of us, instead of a motel. Not a fun experience for a bunch of young kids since all that I remember was lots of dirt roads and that other native kids made fun of us.

The only other trip I remember as a child was my sister and  on a trip to visit went on a trip to my aunt in South Dakota on her ranch. We got to learn to ride a horse and visit Mount Rushmore. I enjoyed that experience much more even though my sister and I still felt really awkward staying with aunt and uncle we hardly knew.

Now as an adult, I have been to several states, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Paraguay, and Canada as well as Mexico. Many of those were much more pleasant and memorable trips and great learning experiences as well. What’s so great about traveling? Isn’t it much safer and comfortable to stay at home what with threat of diseases and terrorism nowadays? Yeah, it may be much more comfortable and safe but we sure miss a lot of things if we never venture out in the ‘unknown’.

About traveling….

For one thing,….traveling can be much more than just fun.  Traveling helps one have healthy aging, boosting one physically, cognitively, and socially.  Those who travel are usually more active and research says that being physically active can help one have lower rates of illnesses like heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and even a lower risk of falling.

Meeting new people, learning about new cultures; are things that help with stimulating the brain.  Maintaining or starting a new social connection later in life has positive benefits on mental health, even for older adults.  http://www.investopedia.com.                                                 It is always good to have some tips for travelers to follow to help traveling go smoother and be more enjoyable. Here are a few general tips I remember from our recent trip.

TRAVEL TIPS

  1. Plan ahead as much as possible. Know where you want to go, how you need to get there, how long its going to take, what stops you need to take along the way. Also arrange for any guides, contacts you might need in the places where you plan to stop.
  2. Book Hotels and know where the gas stations are if you are driving. Find out where any restaurants are or stores to buy food unless you were able to pack or bring your own which is always a good way to save money if possible.
  3. Decide whether you need to bring cash, or where you can access it if you need to, or appropriate debit/credit cards.(but not necessarily all of them as they are more apt to get misplaced or lost; only the one of two that you need)
  4. Be sure to pack appropriately for the weather and place where you are going. Don’t forget any medication or vitamins you may need to take regularly.  It also would be a good idea to know how get medical care or a doctor if you need access to one for some reason.
  5.  Plan, but don’t overdo it, and at the same time be flexible. Even the best laid plans get changed at the last minute through unforeseen circumstances (like weather, sickness, vehicular breakdowns.)

I enjoyed our brief visit to Texas, we saw some sights we hadn’t seen before, museums like FrontierTexas! (http://www.frontiertexas.com/ ) and ate at the BEEHIVE Restaurant. Although a little chilly, the weather cooperated for the most part, and we ate well.  We enjoyed the time away from home however brief.   It is always good to take a break from the routine and do something different. I enjoy meeting new people, and learning new cultures.  I hope it won’t be too long before we get to Texas again, however I would not mind going to visit or travel elsewhere.  In fact, I look forward to doing it more often.  Until the next trip, happy trails to you all!

“Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain