By Rick Banas of BMA Management, Ltd.
Why do so many seniors insist on waiting until after a crisis has occurred before they are willing to move into an assisted living community?
Susan Schaefer of Heritage Woods of Huntley and I were pondering this question earlier this week. Sue is the Administrator of Heritage Woods, an assisted living community that we manage in Huntley, Illinois.
I was telling her about a family that was doing everything possible to get Mom and Dad to move. Their parents weren’t eating properly and taking their medications as they should. But their parents were not about to budge. They were staying in the house.
The family contacted us on a Sunday to let us know. Two days later, on a Tuesday morning, they called, wanting to know how quickly we could accommodate a move. Mom had fallen in the bathroom. Dad tried to pick her up. In the process, the bathroom was flooded and Dad cut his hand badly enough to require a visit to the emergency room.
Fortunately, their parents still qualified for assisted living, and an apartment was available. Often, this is not the case. As a result of a crisis, a nursing home becomes the only option.
As I thought more about the question on my drive home from Heritage Woods, I recalled a program that my wife and I attended on the Wizard of Oz led by Friar John Paul Cafiero. Friar John Paul served as a police officer in New York City before joining the Franciscans. Over the past 50 years, his family has collected more than 24,000 pieces of Wizard of Oz memorabilia, many of which are on display at the Wizard of Oz museum in Wamego, Kansas.
Growing up, watching the Wizard of Oz movie with Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale was an annual event. What I really remember is seeing the movie on a color TV for the first time and how the next day we would march around the playground at school as Winkie Guards, chanting O-Ee-Oh! Eoh-Ah!
As an adult, I really appreciated all of Friar John Paul’s deep insights into the movie and the questions he asked us to consider.
While L. Frank Baum wrote the story for his children, many of the themes and questions apply as we age and our mortality looms during our journey down the Yellow Brick Road of life.
They especially are apt as we face separation, loss and the possibility of leaving familiar surroundings and moving into an assisted living community.
Putting a little bit of a twist on what I learned during Friar John Paul’s program, here are 10 questions you might consider.
What in life is most important to you?
What brings you joy and contentment?
What do you truly desire?
What satisfies you most about where you are living now?
What do you wish you could do differently?
What demons, wicked witches and flying monkeys are pushing you back, causing you to “turn back if I were you?”
What are your deepest fears as you look ahead? What do fear most?
Which do you prefer, doing nothing or doing something to help your control your fears?
Looking back to a time that you faced your fears head-on, what was the outcome?
How did you tap into your courage?
All affordable assisted living communities managed by BMA Management, Ltd. are certified and surveyed by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. All assisted living communities are licensed and surveyed by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
“BMA Management, Ltd. is the leading provider of assisted living in Illinois
and one of the 20 largest providers of assisted living in the United States.”
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let us know.