I have a great relationship with my mother-in-law and I’m very concerned about her. I am married to one of her sons for many years and I’m the closest thing she has to a daughter. Mom is 83 years old and lives with a 24-hour aid in her house. She is very lonely. Her house is depressing and she laments that all of her friends, and her husband, are dead. She is very depressed and is sinking into some mild dementia. She was very social all her life and really needs a fresh start. I really believe that she would do better if she could make new friends and live among her peers, perhaps in an Assisted Living community. But I am not her real daughter and the rest of the family doesn’t want to discuss this. How can I convince my husband and my mother-in-law to consider Assisted Living? -Lesley, Merrick, NY
Many people that want to help their senior parents live more actively and safely have a hard time convincing them that a change could do them good. Seniors are sometimes resistant to change and it is often hard for them to give up their home. You have an added problem that your husband is resistant too and he is her son. Is there anyone else in the family that thinks as you do, is also close with your mother-in-law and agrees with your opinion? Sometimes there is strength in numbers.
Maybe you can convince your husband to visit an Assisted Living community with you to see what it’s like. If he saw others like your Mom maintaining a social life & living well in this environment he might get the courage to support your suggestion. Let him know studies show socializing with friends has the same effect as crossword puzzles in preserving and enhancing mental function.
The next step would be to show your Mom a website of your favored choice, or show her a video or brochure from one of the communities to orient her to the idea without pushing too hard. Then the three of you could make a visit to an Assisted Living community near you just to take a look. Maybe your Mom would consider a short stay to try things out. Many communities offer this option.
Also keep in mind that most residents find it less expensive to live in Assisted Living when they compare it to what they are currently paying at home. Taxes, utilities, landscaping, food, and Home Care Agency services can exceed the average cost of living in Assisted Living where there is no need to worry about cooking, cleaning or security. Assisted Living communities also accept Long Term Care Insurance, Veteran’s Benefits. Many communities even have beds available for residents on Medicaid.
Please write again and let me know how everything is going with your situation. And let your husband know that I’m here to help should he have any questions of his own.