What are families really thinking when they are searching for senior living and care for their beloved elderly?

Families may be a generalized term but are they specific? Similarly, senior living and care may be a generalized term, but are they specific? This question came to me… a few decades ago when my grandparents were aging… In those days with few resources, and old age homes is considered taboo or against societal norms laced with unruly gossip, spices, and more…

Growing up in India, my memories take me back to 1984 and a teenager like myself witnessing our aunt caring for her mother in law with stage 3 plus wounds due to being bedbound, it was heartening to see her do her very best… despite the lack of humane help and zero resources…though our elderly family member did not live a few months beyond those difficult days, it left me asking myself, what if they had care and resources, would they still accept it? 

Now fast forward even in the modern world, this question comes up every single second somewhere and even multiple times…We have the resources, the finances, the people who need care, and the people ready to help our elderly but are we open to it? In my past career, and even with my own family, looking for senior living and care is as common as it can get, or even so as needed as the days go by…

Then what are families really thinking or looking for? Why is it sometimes a burden and sometimes the simplest decision? Are we missing something? Or are we becoming too inquisitive? Here are some takeaways from helping the elderly and their families in the past… 

  1. Families are seeds of culture and heritage and breaking barriers is scary, and difficult for many!
  2. The ability to commit is variable, people often think that they can handle caregiving or vice versa, the elderly may envision their children as caregivers like they used to be for generations!
  3. Proximity to care, emergencies, safety… for many elderly and families, and the fear of missing out on life-saving treatment in times of emergency can create anxiety and apprehension!
  4. Feeling acceptance, many elderly and families, think that aging is a norm where senior living and care are just unnecessary and hence it is not any great thing to think about! 
  5.  Closeness, many families and elderly believe that they would lose their closeness to their siblings, and families, and have a fear of missing out on things that they used to enjoy together! 
  6. Confusion, with the number of choices out there, skepticism builds when deciding because they are not sure they have had the time to sit down and explore and make those decisions!
  7. Ignorance is a common scenario, most people do not know what is out there, or what is available, and some have caregivers to the point of crisis or even passed away…
  8. Burden, either the elderly or the family feeling that way, people view senior living and care as an added burden when they hear of only horror stories and no true real empowering ones… as our technology world gets more intricate, so does it take the power of realism away. Yes, not all is gold but it is becoming too stylish to constantly condemn and blow up things like a mountain out of context… people rejoice in destroying themselves and others in this way! 
  9. False sense of security and hope, for many, do not want a ruffled feather when everything is going great, for they do not look at the future the same way others would, the sense of false hope and security can be detrimental in any way or maybe wonderful!
  10. Personalities clash, where some may be introverts, some extroverts, and many ambiverts…personalities can make or break anything, so moving into senior living and care many times is an amalgamation of personalities rather than expendable.             

Hopefully, this brief overview made you think about our elderly, and our families as we are knitted into communities and a larger world.  The vastness of the Geriatric space asks for deep thoughts, discussions, and leadership even amongst families in a world of matriarchy and patriarchy. We would learn to know your angles of thought and appreciate any comments, or suggestions. Maybe you have something we could all learn from or help us solve some complex problems of Geriatrics. Thank you for reading our blog, we appreciate it, Until next time… 

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