I’m the only child of a single mom. I’ve always known that when the time comes, it would fall to me to help with her care. That time has come. Mom was just diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer’s disease. We’ve done the paperwork (will, health care directive, durable powers of attorney for health care and finances), but I’m totally unprepared for helping decide what she needs and where she should live. She needs to move out of her two-story home into somewhere more manageable, but I don’t know if we should look for a condo near me or one of the other places where seniors move when they need help. I looked on the internet, started reading about Assisted Living, Memory Care, Independent Living, and Continuing Care Retirement Communities, and I’m overwhelmed. My mom can still be involved in making decisions, but I don’t know how to guide her. Can you advise us?
Dear Only Child,
This is the perfect time for you and your mother to research resources and together make a plan. I highly encourage you to find a Care Manager who can help you navigate senior living and other options. I always tell clients and their families, you only want to move once! As your mother’s condition progresses, it is important to have routine and an environment she recognizes and is comfortable in. Finances will also play a role in where she may retire. Home is always an option with family and caregiver support. Some senior care communities do not have the full spectrum of care or your mother may develop behaviors that require her to move or hire additional help to remain in that environment. You have already taken some very necessary steps. Knowing your mother’s wishes and developing a plan is your next step. My best to you both.