My Thoughts on Families

by Katherine Vojtko

Sherwood Oaks has been serving retirees for almost 30 years and I’ve been working in this field for 15. Ideally, both the client and the children are supportive of a move to a PA retirement community. But, this is not always the case. It is not unusual to hear from a desperate daughter or son who is alarmed when they see that their parents are not able to do as much as they use to. The children are alarmed and concerned for Mom or Dad’s safety and health – but this alarm and concern is not shared by parents.

What to do? It’s not an easy situation, but we give this advice to children and families:

1.Remind yourself that your parent is an intelligent and successful adult. It is easy for the parent/child role to get reversed. You can guard against this by staying respectful of their accomplishments and role in your life.
2.Help them retain/gain back as much control over their lives as is possible. Ask them for solutions. Look into technology and home-based services that may help them remain independent and have control over their lives.
3.Involve them in problem solving – what are their thoughts on solving the issues that concern you.
4.Do they realize that as they age, they are role models to the grand children and extended family?
What kind of legacy do they want to leave of themselves?
5.Talk about what they have achieved and contributed over their lifetimes to the family, to a business, to their social network, or to the neighborhood. How, and in what setting, can they best continue these contributions?

These are a few ways to engage your parent in constructive conversations about the future. These conversations will likely be more effective taken in small doses over time, and not presented in a family “intervention” format. With any luck, Sherwood Oaks may have the good fortune of being a part of your parent’s future.

Consider bringing your mother or daughter (even your father or son!) to our Mother/Daughter Brunch on Saturday, March 10th at 10 a.m. in the Sherwood Oaks Dining Room when we will learn more about how Sherwood Oaks is one of the most comprehensive PA retirement communities.  RSVP to (800) 642-2217 to reserve your space.

Katherine Vojtko, M.A, M.P.H
Vice President
Sherwood Oaks Retirement Community