Minding our Elders: Securing caregiving services from a distance important for independence
DEAR CAROL: My 83-year-old mother lives in Arizona and I live in Minnesota. Mom is healthy for her age and has no cognitive issues. She came to visit me last month and we had a lot of fun. I tried to talk her into staying, but she says she still ...
DEAR CAROL: My 83-year-old mother lives in Arizona and I live in Minnesota. Mom is healthy for her age and has no cognitive issues.
She came to visit me last month and we had a lot of fun. I tried to talk her into staying, but she says she still wants to live in a warm climate. She’s been in Arizona for over 20 years and has had many friends but her circle is naturally becoming smaller.
We both know that she’ll need assisted living before long but for now home services may be enough. I’d still like to bring her to Minnesota before she needs assisted living. Is it right to pressure her to move? – JLB
DEAR JLB: Something for both of you to consider is that, when it comes to rating senior care services, Minnesota is at the top while Arizona scores toward the middle. To see latest rankings by state go to www.americashealth
I’m not implying that Arizona doesn’t offer excellent services, but some services depend on one’s ability to pay. Since you didn’t mention assets, I’m assuming that your mother isn’t wealthy. In that case, you’ll be looking for senior services that she can afford, which limits choices to a degree.
As you said, your mother’s group of friends is naturally dwindling, so my feeling is that she’ll eventually come around to your way of thinking. If you look at options together, I’m sure that you’ll find a nice assisted living facility near you. If so, you’d also have the advantage of seeing each other often. Ultimately, however, the decision is hers to make.
For now, you could go to the Arizona state website and type in the word aging. Because senior care is so localized, this is probably your best route. This search will bring up the Area Agency on Aging that serves your mother’s community as well as Arizona’s Aging and Disability Services and other helpful links. The Eldercare locator at www.eldercare.gov can be helpful, too. These agencies should be able to assist you in lining up services for your mother while she is on her own.
Another option, if your mother agrees, is that you could hire a Geriatric Care Manager in your mother’s community. This person could provide the oversight that you may find hard to give from a distance.
Meanwhile, I’d visit your mother in her community with the focus on touring assisted living facilities. Then bring her back up to stay with you while you do the same in your community. This will help you both compare facilities, keeping in mind what she can pay. Options for activities should be high on the list when you visit these homes.
You have time to plan, but things can change quickly at her age, so it seems like this is something that you should start investigating. It’s probable that your mother would be able to make new friends in an ALF and have a satisfying social life.
Once again, this is your mother’s choice. My advice would be to do what you can to help her live where she is for now, but ask her if she’s willing to work with you on researching plans for her future care.
Carol Bradley Bursack is the author of a support book on caregiving and runs a website supporting caregivers at www.mindingourelders.com . She can be reached at email@example.com .