Monday, January 4, 2016

Senior Facility: A “home” for your elderly parent or your elderly parent’s home?

It’s a trick question so give it some thought before you answer!  Your answer will certainly reflect your attitude toward where your parent lives as well as your parent’s attitude regarding where they live.  I’m going to give you some help answering this question and some things to consider that I hope will make your 2016 and your parents 2016 a lot more enjoyable.

First, a Senior Facility is a “home” for your elderly parent but it is also your parent’s home.  The distinction is how your parent and you view where they live.  Your attitude regarding where your parent lives will also define whether it is a “home” for you parent or your parent’s home.  In the most basic sense, a “home” is where you reside—sometimes by choice and sometimes by necessity.  How you and others view where you live can make it a home where you are comfortable, loved, proud and feel safe.

So, how do you view where your elderly parent lives?  Is it a “home” or is it your parent’s home?  Do you treat where your parent lives the same way you did when your parent lived in the house you were raised?  Do you go by for meals, drinks or to hang out with your parent?  Do you participate in activities and parties?  Do you drop in to watch a favorite television show or a favorite movie?  Too often the children of elderly parents who live in a Senior Facility view the facility as a “home”.  It is a place where many people live and receive care but not their parent’s home.  Believe me, your parent notices and it affects the way they view where they live.

I’m going to guess that most of you are not happy about your answers to the above questions so I’m going to give you some ideas on how to change your answer and make 2016 a bit more enjoyable—for the rest of you, good job!

  • Attend a meal a week.  You can do this alone or with other family members but have a meal a week at your parent’s home.  Most senior facilities serve tasty and nutritious meals so chose one that fits your schedule and enjoy a meal together!
  • Participate in an activity that your parent enjoys.  The great thing about a senior facility is that most have wonderful activities from workouts to dances and everything in between.  Make it a point to participate with your parent! (If you are not sure what activity your parent enjoys, ask the staff)
  • Start a project you can do together at your parent’s home.  This can be as simple as a puzzle or reading bible verses.  If space allows, it can be more complex.  Make sure you schedule a time that you work on the project together each week.
  • Attend parties and socials.  This one should be easy as many senior facilities have parties and socials all the time and some include live entertainment, great food and even adult beverages.
  • Attend scheduled outings.  Most senior facilities have scheduled outings for shopping, dining or simple trips to parks and other points of interest.  If there is space, ride along on the bus with your parent or offer to be part of the transportation.  Even though this is not an activity at your parent’s home, it is part of their home life.
  • Keep your parent’s room looking homey and fresh.  Pictures, knick-knacks, fresh flowers or plants, and cards will keep your parent’s room looking like home!  Regardless of the size of the space, change it up for your parent every few months with different items.

Here is a simple tip to make all this happen—get a copy of the monthly activity calendar and review it with your parent (almost every senior facility publishes a monthly activity calendar).  I would suggest two copies, one for you and one for your parent. Mark the events and activities you plan to attend and then mark the days and times you will share a meal or just visit with no agenda.  The more you view where your parent lives as their home, the more your parent will view where they live as home!

If would like a list Assisted Living Facilities, Nursing Homes or any other type of Senior Facility, I hope you will consider .

If you would like to contribute your thoughts and ideas, please leave them in our comment section. We want to hear them. Helping people care for themselves or their loved ones is what we care about. 

We look forward to reading yours.

Bob Gregory is an advocate for Seniors and is one of the founders of Help For Elderly.  At, we are dedicated to helping families get the Elder Care help they need without having to provide their personal information! We are a non profit organization supported by generous public donations.  If you find  you need an assisted living facility or other type of senior facility, please consider