Children caring for aging parents might have a new plan of action to consider. Now, some people are moving into continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) alongside their parents, reveling in the newfound ease of caregiving in such an environment and reaping the benefits of the facilities themselves.
To date, very few adult children have joined their parents at a CCRC, LeadingAge’s Director of Residential Communities Steve Maag told the New York Times.
“But it wouldn’t surprise me to see more of it,” he said.
Given that children trying to care for their older loved ones are likely facing some challenges of aging themselves, the concept makes sense, NYT reporter Paula Span wrote in an article published Monday.
Caregivers over age 75 spend an average of 34 hours a week helping their elders, according to a study released last year by the National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP Public Policy Institute, meaning a move to a senior living facility could prove mutually beneficial.
“It’s remarkably common for children to make big adjustments to take care of an aging parent,” said Philip Sloane, co-director of the program on aging, disability and long-term care at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Therefore, living in the same CCRC represents “a new but logical aging services model.”
Take Allen Geiwitz, for example, a 71-year-old retired computer programmer who moved into Glen Meadows in suburban Baltimore just months after his mother had entered the nonprofit CCRC operated by Presbyterian Senior Living. Geitwitz now lives in a separate one-bedroom independent living apartment down the hall from his mother, a starkly different living situation from the three to four days a week he had previously spent at his parents’ place and the home maintenance he managed on his own.
“Either I was going to have to start paying people to do those things, or I’d have to sell the house and move into an apartment,” he said. “I thought, ‘I’ll jump past that interim place.’”
Making such a move isn’t necessarily an affordable option, though, since CCRCs typically require entrance fees along with monthly payments. Contract types, geography and amenities included vary significantly across the board, making for a wide range in terms of costs associated with moving in.
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When accessible, the benefits of co-residence are substantial, said Diane Matlock, a 67-year-old woman who moved with her husband to a two-bedroom cottage at Quincy Village, another CCRC managed by Presbyterian Senior Living, located in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. The couple had often visited Quincy Village because her mother lives there before deciding to move in themselves.
“It’s a real comfort to know she’s nearby if I need her,” Matlock’s 86-year-old mother, Nancy Gardner, said.
Written by Kourtney Liepelt