This is a big event, like getting married or having a baby.
I talked with a man in our store last week who had traveled all the way across from Vegas to help his aging father move into a home.
“You are a good son,” I said.
“Today,” he said, “I would agree with you!”
It wasn’t the time of the traveling that had stressed him out, it was sitting with his Dad while he helped him sort through his things which went on for nearly a week. The father had to decide what to take with him and each item was a momentous decision! Then the next day the old man would change his mind or forget they had handled that item.
“So were you patient? “ I asked.
“Yes I was patient,” he twinkled, “I was really, really, really patient.”
When an elderly parent moves from a home they have lived in for many years it can be a stressful and a highly emotional time. It is a big transition and there is loss and always some grieving.
“Then you are a good son,” I said and I could see that he was.
In early September we often visit Retirement Homes. I have been amazed at the level of luxury provided by these facilities. Typically we deal with the Activity Director, officially the Director of Lifestyles. Let me ask you whether at any time in your life you have ever had a Director of Lifestyles at your beck and call, all yours and just to entertain you?
What astounded me was that these homes are not all that expensive; they are in the same degree of rent that my kids are paying in the city. Admittedly I was looking at a five star facility in Bakersfield. So if your parent’s are able to afford a good retirement home and are outgoing, know they will have a grand old time: they will play Bridge, Bingo, participate in Water Aerobics and this in a pool heated to 85-95 degrees – there is always something going on. Understand that it is only the change that is hard on them.
An excellent idea to help them through these times is to pull out the old photos. Go through the album with them. Notice which ones they like. Take a child with you so that they can absorb the old family history and stories. Encourage Dad or Mom to talk about the pictures. Each one will have a story. Select the favorite photos and have them made into a collage or two or three. With a collage you can even select a favorite saying like “The Handsome Patriot” There is not much that they will be able to take with them if they are going into a small suite of rooms. Photos are the one thing that will give them a sense of continuity and connect them to their old life.
Change is hard on older people, but with their family helping them through the transition and their precious memories still with them, it will make it easier to settle down happily into the golden years of their life.
Quote for the Week
Wherever you go, go with all your heart. ~Confucius