Deciding On Care For Aging Parents
Kirsten McIntyre, News 9
YUKON, Oklahoma -- There are all sorts of challenging issues to consider when caring for aging parents-- financial, legal, medical and psychological, but one family hopes their choice will help others.
The last six months have been nothing short of exhausting for an Oklahoma mother and her daughter. They've had to make some tough decisions, including saying goodbye to a home of 60 years.
At 83 years old, Lou Wilson doesn't get around like she used to. Heart problems have recently cramped the style of her once busy life.
"You'd be surprised how fast you lose all that stuff," Lou said.
Her body may be failing but Lou's mind is still sharp. She made the decision herself to move two hours closer to her daughter.
"People should not wait this long till their health is bad," Lou said.
Lou had to downsize her belongings from a three bedroom home to a small, one bedroom apartment. She also had to leave behind her life as a former newspaper editor in her small community.
"Her safety is the number one issue, but then secondly her happiness and having something that she would feel comfortable in was really the challenge. Leaving your home of 60 years. Imagine what it's like, pulling up roots," said Cassie Wilson, Lou's daughter.
After visiting about 10 places, the pair decided on Spanish Cove Retirement Village in Yukon. The life-care retirement community is close to Cassie and also offers different levels of medical care.
"So she's very independent now fairly independent. If she gets worse physically then we don't have to pick a different place to move her to. We can take their higher level of care, which is right across the parking lot," Cassie said.
Yet, the Wilsons admit there's nothing cheap about the care Lou is receiving. Cassie is a financial planner and years ago, began preparing for her mother's care.
"I think you have to plan ahead and think about that. Don't wait too long. You're going to get old if something else doesn't happen," Lou said.
Lou said she is thankful for everything her daughter has done for her.
"I put myself in her place all the time and try to decide how would I really want this to be, and I try to make it as seamless as possible for her," Cassie said.
Cassie said her job is flexible, so she's able to care for her mother and still work. However, that's not the story for many Oklahomans, who are trying to balance full-time work with caring for an elderly parent, which can be emotionally, financially and physically exhausting.