When I began looking at assisted living homes for my 92-year old dad, I found some amazing places offering game rooms, ice-cream parlors, all-day popcorn machines, opportunities for group trips to casinos and even cruises. Wow. I was ready to move in myself.
Most of the large and/or chain assisted living or continuing-care homes have well-paid marketing specialists who realize that their target audience is often the adult children of older adults. These adult children are often active Boomers who, themselves, would enjoy having a full schedule of activities available.
It’s hard, at any age, to think of those much younger or much older than we are so we think about what it’s like for us and apply those feelings and thoughts to our parents.
I try to remind myself that at 64, I don’t want, need or enjoy many of the accouterments of a 35-year old. I would hate for my 35-year-old son to define my lifestyle through his personal perspective of what brings him joy and purpose.
If it’s necessary for your parents to move into some type of assisted living, consider bringing in an objective third party such as a Geriatric Care Manager experienced in working with elders. Then, with this objective third party, you and your parent(s) can explore what environment truly supports an empowering and purposeful daily life. Many, particularly when over 85, prefer a smaller environment that is better supported in adult foster care or, if at all possible, additional help so that they can “age in place” in their home.