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Your Loved One Can No Longer Live Alone: Now What?

Dad goes out with his shirt on inside out. Mom gets lost on her way to the grocery store. Even though you know your parents are aging, there’s still a lot of denial about just how bad it’s gotten. We tend not to discuss the unpleasant subject of what happens when mom or dad can no longer be safe alone or needs assistance with daily living to maintain their independence.

And then the crisis hits: Dad’s fallen and broken a hip or had a stroke. Mom’s forgetfulness has progressed to the point that something must be done. Now what? We typically have no idea what is ahead and are unprepared when it happens. Grief, guilt, anger and disagreements within the family are common. What should we do? Where do we turn? are questions that demand answers. Even if we are well versed in the senior industry, the upheaval is overwhelming and confusing.

By contacting a placement agency, you can get the answers you need so you can focus on the emotional task ahead. Knowledgeable care coordinators will discuss the pros and cons of the many senior living options available and save you time by sharing their expertise, walking you through the process and, usually, driving you to tour appropriate housing choices. They typically offer their services at no charge to families.

Placement agencies are also a valuable resource for issues beyond that of housing. Many agencies provide in-home and supplemental care for seniors remaining at home. They can help you downsize and move your family member to a new residence. They work with real estate agents and estate sale companies and can help you find elder-law attorneys, VA benefit assistance, Medicaid experts, medical supply companies and more.

Most families are unaware of available resources and don’t know where to begin. Information is abundant, sometimes conflicting and generally overwhelming to those unfamiliar with the system and its jargon. Being in crisis mode often results in poor decisions, even with the best intentions. It's important to take the time to select one carefully. Consult reviews on the internet and check with the BBB to make sure the agency can deliver what you need. There are many agencies that might not be up to the highest standards and it's important that you deal with a reputable one.

Once you have confirmed the placement agency's reputation, contact them for answers to your questions and for help navigating the maze of senior care services so you can concentrate on what’s most important – your loved one.

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