Helping our Senior Parents

Part 1 - Helping a Senior Parent


A new home – What does a Senior need now? In the future? Image courtesy of Microsoft

A new home – What does a Senior need now? In the future?
Image courtesy of Microsoft

My Mother lived in her own place in the same community as one of my sisters. In 2007, my sister and her family seized a work opportunity and moved across the country. Mom had recently become a “senior citizen” and was active with friends and routines in that community. Now, she had no family nearby. Conversations began with her and my siblings about getting her to move closer to me and my other sister.

By the spring of 2009, my Mother decided it was time to move. All four siblings were relieved. Everyone wanted to help. But with one sister across the country, our brother half a continent away and my other sister nearby balancing a full-time job and two children, I emerged as the coordinator.

In addition to living close to Mom’s desired area, I was the eldest, a planner by nature and had experience in home buying and overseeing home renovations. This would just be another project to juggle along with my job and caring for my two young children.

After an extensive search, Mom and I identified a nice condominium, although it would require some remodelling. It seemed reasonable that Mom could remain independent for another ten to fifteen years or more, so good choice, right?

Next item – renovations – no problem, I was heading into familiar territory!  Wrong!

As I had done for previous renovation projects, I turned to the Internet to research products. However, it wasn’t familiar territory at all. This time, I was looking for products for a “senior” who had her own specific health needs and unique interests and tastes. (Oh, you say, stop complaining – just do it!)

OK, let’s start in the bathroom with a comfort height toilet. What does comfort height mean? Some toilets have an ADA label also, some don’t. Why?

The bathroom vanity seemed too low. What is a good height for a senior? OK, that vanity looks good. However, I don’t think the hardware is very senior-friendly.

Are there products to minimize cleaning and maintenance? Are they readily available? Are they expensive?

Some grab bars would surely make sense. Avoiding falls, that is a good idea. Are there enough? And, are they in the right places? Who knows how to install them properly?

How do I separate sales pitches from “real” information?  Some product companies and retailers are now following me around on the Internet and polluting my email. Creepy and annoying!

The research seems endless.  How much time is this going to take?

I was outside my comfort zone trying to help a senior. And, I was not sure that I was directing the family towards good decisions. We all wanted to do this right. After all, this was about our Mother’s safety and comfort.

I wanted a single source of reliable information and sensible advice on a website where I felt comfortable taking action.  And, I wanted to easily find local, qualified help when I needed it.

A few months after Mom moved into her new home, my husband and I were taking a well-earned break together. We talked about an interest in starting a business together. It didn’t take us long to realize that helping others navigate the unfamiliar territory I had just explored in helping my Mother had become a passion – a passion to fuel a business.


Ann

CEO, Founder and Owner
Sage in Home