An elderly parent who can't stay home any longer can still be independent


For the Mirror

Question: “Our 88-year-old mother has lived at home with help from the family. Because it’s becoming more difficult for her to be at home, it’s now time for her to move to a facility. How do we decide which option is best?”

It’s great that your mother could stay at home for so long, since that’s where most elderly individuals want to be. In a survey conducted for Home Instead Senior Care, more than 83 percent of seniors say they are very or somewhat likely to remain in their homes rather than move to a care facility.

Most communities now have a variety of services, including home health agencies and non-medical care companies, which can make that possible.

“Most older people seem to think that where they live is an all or nothing affair: Stay at home or be sent off to a nursing home,” said Linda Rhodes, author of “Caregiving as Your Parents Age.”

Call your local senior center or Area Agency on Aging to find out the types of services that are available in your community.

Home caregivers can perform functions in a senior’s home such as meal preparation, light housekeeping and shopping. Another great benefit of non-medical caregiving is the respite that it provides to family caregivers who need a break.

For some seniors, however, the day may come when it’s time to leave home. If so, look for options that continue to help seniors remain as independent as possible. In her book, Rhodes outlines some of those, including continuing-care retirement communities that feature independent living apartments and homes, assisted-living apartments and nursing home care.

Whatever your mom and your family decide, you should encourage your mother to maintain the relationships that she’s formed at home. For instance, if your mother has had a non-medical caregiver, that person may be able to accompany her into her new home to supplement care. That can make the transition to a new setting much easier.

CeCe Williams is owner of Home Instead Senior Care in Federal Way. She can be reached at 943-1603 or

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