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SENIOR RESIDENTS LIVING ALONE

In Alexandria, more than 5,000 of the area’s 22,733 residents who are 60 years or older live alone, according to the Division of Aging and Adult services.

OLDER ADULTS ARE STAYING AT HOME LONGER While our first inclination is to move mom or dad to an assisted living community, Lynch warned that might not be the best option. In many cases, your parents will be able to receive needed services in their own home. The trend is for people to stay in their own home for as long as possible because it’s often the most cost-effective option, said Mary Lee Anderson, executive director of Senior Services of Alexandria. The cost of care for elderly adults in Northern Virginia is expensive. Assisted living communities face the same taxes and land costs that renters or homeowners face in this region, Bersani said. The average cost of a one-bedroom, private assisted living unit in Northern Virginia is $2,765 per month and nursing home costs are more than $7,000 a month, according to Genworth Financial, Inc. As a result, more elderly adults are staying in their homes longer. In Alexandria, more than 5,000 of the area’s 22,733 residents who are 60 years or older live alone, according to the Division of Aging and Adult services. In fact, the average age of a resident in assisted living is 87 years old, unless they have early on-set Alzheimer’s or another disease that

MONTHLY COST OF CARE, VIRGINIA* Homemaker Services

$ 3,337

Homemaker Health Aide

$ 3,813

Adult Day Health Care

$ 1,236

Assisted Living Facility, Private one-bedroom

$ 2,765

Nursing Home, Semi-private room

$ 7,011

Nursing Home, Private room

$ 7,650

* Based on annual rate divided by 12 months

causes them to need around-the-clock care, Bersani said. INVOLVE YOUR PARENTS IN THE DECISION One of the biggest mistakes adult children make is to treat their parents like they are children. Don’t walk in and immediately talk about moving them out of their house, Lynch said. Instead, ask them questions such as “Would it help if you had a housekeeper or if I found someone to check on you a few times a week?” Use matter-of-fact statements like, “I’ve noticed” and say, “I wonder if.” Then listen to their response. If your parent is reluctant to get assistance, tell them that accepting outside help will ease your mind, Anderson said. Anderson suggests saying, “I’m far away and I’m worried I couldn’t be here to help you if there was an emergency. Can you share with me what you would do, maybe get a life alert, or let me know you have all the necessary paperwork in place so that I can make sure you can be taken care of the way you want to be taken care of, if something happens?” For instance, your parents should have a will, power of attorney and advance medical directives. “Be patient. This isn’t a one-time conversation,” Edwards said. “Make

sure you have little discussions to start planting that seed in their head.” Many adult children are balancing careers and young children so they want to fix the problem immediately, Edwards said, but you shouldn’t push your parents into making a quick decision. Frequently, families don’t understand all the options available. “Often, they just put their parents in the nursing home down the street but that might not be the best fit,” Edwards said. Keep in mind that you’re not just shopping for housing but also somewhere your parent can thrive and be safe. You can’t just get a list of places to live and approach it like a real estate transaction, Edwards said, because it’s really a health care decision. “If your parent is outgoing and likes to do things, then you want to make sure they move somewhere active and engaging,” she said. “Not all communities are the same.” KEEPING YOUR PARENTS SAFE If your parents are going to stay in their home, it’s important that you look around the home and focus on safety. They should have a bathroom and bedroom on the main floor, and not have to climb stairs several times a day, Anderson said. Check for tripping hazards such as stairs without railings, area rugs and loose electrical cords

November / December 2018 • alexandrialivingmagazine.com

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Profile for Alexandria Living Magazine

Alexandria Living Magazine - Nov./Dec. 2018  

Alexandria Living Magazine - Nov./Dec. 2018