The majority of families that my seniors’ services consulting firm works with lack the knowledge to know what is needed now for their aging parents.
Family members wonder when is the time to step in to assist their parents, or when to consider taking away their independence.
Often, the mother wants to do one thing and the father wants to do something else.
What happens if one parent needs 24-hour care and the other parent has a sharp mind and is still mobile?
Aging seniors often have a horrible image of nursing homes, the first thought perhaps entering their minds when it comes to leaving their home.
As well, family members will feel there is no way they want to put their parents in a nursing home.
A lot of this apprehension is derived simply from misunderstanding the definition of the terms being used.
For my parents, I did not understand all of the options available nor the correct terms to use to get the correct information.
My mom and dad would have moved to a supportive living facility where they would interact with other seniors on a regular basis without leaving the building.
This is especially important during the winter months and at night.
Their meals would be prepared for them and their housekeeping done.
They could also lock the door to their suite and go on a six-week vacation. In short, they could have assistance provided to them without losing their independence.
When aging parents walk into a supportive housing facility, they will see many walkers, leading them to think this is not where they want to live.
However, this too is a misunderstanding of what they are seeing.
Seniors move into supportive housing with their cognitive and mobility skills perfect for their age. Then, as is usual for most people, their needs increase. Besides, one of the best things a senior can do is use a walker to prevent a fall.
So much of what I do as a seniors’ services consultant is assist families and their parents understand what their options are and then make sure that their image and reality are correct.
If not, both the families and seniors could be going through needless stress and worry.
Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus is at the forefront of helping families and seniors get the information they require.
Again this year, the college will present, in conjunction with Kelowna Seniors Consulting, a morning seminars to help the families.
On Saturday, March 19, from 9:30 a.m. to noon, the seminar Understanding Supportive Housing Options for Your Parents (CRN 80477) will be presented.
This seminar will go into detail about what supportive housing provides, and how to ensure your parents move into a facility that meets their needs. The cost for each seminar is $119.28 (HST included), which will include course material.
Register for the course at 250-862-5480 or on line at www.okanagan.bc.ca/csreg
Payment is due at time of registration. Interested participants must register prior to the course.
Sharen Marteny is a services consultant for seniors in Kelowna.