Helping an aging loved one find the support and care he or she might need is a process that can come with a steep learning curve.
Not unlike many of life’s big decisions, there doesn’t seem to be a user’s manual that offers the epitome of “How to Age with Grace” complete with step-by-step instructions. Even if it did exist, a book couldn’t possibly cover the situational intricacies – family sensitivities, predispositions, personal preferences, marketplace dynamics, and unique idiosyncrasies – that come with the territory.
The best idea is to research, talk opening and candidly with your family, and align yourself with local experts who can help guide you through the alternatives. Fortunately, three area experts (who also just so happen to have aging parents themselves), are offering a “Senior Living 101” primer this fall to help you get started.
Senior advisors Patty Belongia with The Courtyard at Bellevue, Rebecca Lemahieu with Bellevue Senior Living, and Denise Stodola, with Home Instead offer a combined 30 years of experience helping seniors and their families navigate care and lifestyle options for older adults.
“The one thing we know for sure is that each situation is unique,” says Belongia.
All three agree that having a basic understanding of the terms and costs and, most importantly, knowing the signs of when additional care might be helpful or necessary can be a huge advantage as families begin to consider options.
“There are tell-tale signs of when additional support can be an extremely beneficial lifestyle enhancement for older adults as well as for their families,” says Lemahieu. “Spelling out what to watch for, or be aware of, can be either eye-opening or validating.”
In addition, understanding the various options and knowing the language surrounding each choice is also a great starting point. “Senior care, and especially senior housing in Wisconsin, is filled with acronyms and nuances,” says Belongia. “It’s important to understand how the various options cater to different individuals’ needs and how each one offers distinct benefits. After that, it’s up to each person and family to decide what is best for their circumstances.”
And, of course, cost plays a role as well. “Understanding the broad range of expense to expect on an hourly or monthly basis, and what options exist for funding or financial assistance, can really help put the option of senior care and services into perspective,” says Lemahieu.
The next Senior Living 101 event will be offered Thursday, March 31 at 11:30am at The Village Green restaurant located at 801 Hoffman Road in Green Bay. Class sizes are limited and include a complimentary luncheon.