Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Book Review: The Perfect Home for a Long Life

Idyllic retirement or an accident waiting to happen?

The Perfect Home for a Long Life: Choosing the right retirement lifestyle for you

I was asked to review this book, being retired and a senior's healthcare advocate, it seemed to be an

interesting idea. Many publicists are sending me books these days. It's a nice bonus for me. Not all are as well-written and researched as this one.

Myths of the golden years

Giving information to those able to make good housing decisions, with a balance of their physical, emotional and social need in mind, is what experts need to do. Seniors need to be making wise choices, with all of the information at hand. Too often, many are choosing retirement in cottage country where mobility issues, transportation, issues, compound a dangerous living situation.

Lyndsay Green covers a variety of choices for senior housing. She tells a story about a wise couple who moved from their 16-acre dream property, to a safer, lower-maintenance home in a village. Many of my rural clients make this choice. One cannot manage a farm, and they wisely move into the town, passing the family farm on to the middle-aged children.

We all learn from one another's stories.

I've promised my kids–when I can't shovel the roof,
cross the highway fast enough to get the mail,
or clean out the eavestrough safely, we'll move!
What compounds health issues, you see, are distance from hospitals, access to healthcare or pharmacies, easy grocery shopping, and snowstorms that render one homebound. If you can make good decisions, as a senior, you are able to control your living situation and your environment much better than living dangerously in a home where you are unable to meet your needs and carry on safely with your activities of daily living (ADLs).

She has done her research.
I spotted this guy on his roof
with the leaf blower.
What was he thinking?!
"Falls account for 85% of seniors' injury-related hospitalizations, and falls are the cause of most hip fractures among seniors."
She has wise words for us, sentiments I have similarly articulated.
"This governmental resolve to have us age in place sounds good to many of us who are determined to stay at home until the very end. But we're probably envisioning an end that is quick, preceded by a fully capable and vigorous life."
There are many barriers to aging in place, well-covered in this book. They include financial, physical, cognitive abilities to live in our own homes, as well as issues such as being able to drive safely, having the money to maintain our homes, paying the increasing costs of hydro, fuel, and keeping a house in good order. I've heard many stories of people unable to afford to repair or replace a septic system, a roof, or a furnace. They are determined, despite substandard living conditions, to die at home. For some this is a poor choice.
Of course, the media adds to our fears, with horror stories of long-term care homes, but this isn't the norm, depending upon the state of your loved one's health.

I've heard of adult children caring for a parent in their home in Ontario. After the stress takes a toll, a sibling in Alberta does renovations on their home. The ailing parent is moved out west. It does not work out and the parent is brought back to Ontario. A terrible situation.

Target Audience
This book is intended for those who are able to make choices. Some seniors are smacked by a sudden illness for which they did not plan. A sudden change is difficult. Physicians must divulge disease trajectories, in order for patients to be able to make wise housing choices.

Planning for deteriorating health conditions is the key

Many seniors are disabled by financial, social, emotional, or physical issues. Many cannot afford to choose a retirement home, or cannot manage to hire those to help them with their ADLs. I would also suggest that adult children read this book, but for sentient seniors, able to make adult choices, this certainly provides a number or real stories about real seniors in housing situations. As I said in my radio interview on Housing for Seniors, we have a continuum of options, and seniors must make the right choice for the entire family. I have adult friends who have faced that 2:00 a.m. phone call from an aging parent unable to get up off of the floor after a fall. They fear calling any one else, in case they are placed in LTC.

Lyndsay Green - Home For A Long Life


Kay said...

This really is a worry and I do think about it. We just haven't been able to think of what we'll do yet. There are too many variables.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Jenn: That snow fall you get is way to high for me, thanks for sharing the info. I have had two falls on the dock this year. Luckily I had no injuries. Getting older does make it harder.

Kay L. Davies said...

I'd like to find that book, Jenn. Maybe I could get Dick to read it, although he lives in constant denial of his age. Even a health scare involving serious surgery last year hardly slowed him down.
He has children, so we have grandchildren. None of his girls is in a position to care for an aging father, never mind a stepmother. So we have made detailed wills, covering most of the what-ifs.
Now we'll just wait and see. I'll be 67 this year. He'll be 70 next year. He says "We're not really old yet."

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Am not sure if I mentioned (trubs with "menosoup" donchya know!), but my last five years of practice in Sydney prior to India was specialised in aged care. A subject very dear to my heart and now of course there requires to be planning for myself also. This sounds like a book worth having - you don't mention it's availability,Jenn - would I be able to obtain ebook version from Amazon for example?

Interesting to read that the 'AIP' policy is advocated in Canada also - I suppose it must be world wide actually as governments seek to withdraw already minimal funding.

Not a 'sexy' campaign tool, the age factor, is it? They forget that there are still voting rights there!

Thanks for this review. YAM xx

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
...and "D'uh!" meno hits again. Just realised you put a hyperlink there. Sigh. xx