Real Talk on Senior Living
A Guide for Families
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Age is something we never really consider happening to us; we’re too busy living our lives to pay it much attention. And then it sneaks up. Our needs evolve, and suddenly we’re faced with big decisions about the kind of life we want to lead.
Of course, we’re still the same person inside, even though the person in the mirror has changed. And so have her desires and demands, interests and priorities, friends and neighbours. Everything changes. And with these changes comes the biggest consideration of all: how, and where, to live. That’s what Real Talk On Senior Living is all about.
There’s never been a better time to be old. Yes, old. We know that age doesn’t matter, so let’s really embrace it. Besides, Canada has one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world.
Over the last century, we’ve added 25 years to our lives, and now many of us are enjoying vibrant lives well past 80, 90, even 100. You may be able to retire from work, but not from life. How, and where, you spend your time as you get older is more important than ever.
We’ve been waiting for this question. Because as good as it all sounds, everything comes with a price.
There’s a great misconception that senior care is free, and that the government covers all the costs. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. You will get some government funding for home care or long term care, but you’ll usually have to pay part of the cost. For retirement residences, it’s generally all on you. These costs can range widely, and calculating them requires some skillful accounting.
“What are we doing with all this stuff?”
Chances are good that your mom or dad has lived in the same place for more than a few years. And most likely, it’s full of furniture, appliances, books, photos, tools, dishes and can’t-part-with family heirlooms, each with its own history and sense of importance. Now, if they have decided to move to a retirement residence or long term care home, it’s time to decide what to do with all this stuff. What will be given away, or sold, or passed onto family or friends? And which items will come to the new space?
These are tough decisions. Just as difficult is being the person coordinating the sorting and packing, the on-hand ear to listen to stories, the shoulder for crying on. That’s your role.
We’ve come a long way since the beginning of our journey. We talked about embracing change as a natural part of aging, and that it’s more about the start of a new phase than it is the end of something. We also spoke about aging itself, and how you’re still the same person you’ve always been, even as your needs, or the needs of your mom or dad, evolve.
By now, we hope you have a clearer sense of the vast options available for senior living. We’ve explained the three main types of care, and delved into the costs and considerations, as well as the logistics of downsizing and making a move. We also stressed the value of talking to other people — family, friends, experts — and getting out there to experience first-hand all the options for senior living.