The cross : Is it desirable to stay at home as long as possible?
Olivier de Ladoucette: Staying at home is to be encouraged, as long as it is not dangerous for the person. The accommodation must be adapted to all situations, including that of great dependency. Failing that, you have to have the courage to anticipate, to do the necessary work or to move.
→ ANALYSIS. Leaving home, an ordeal for seniors and their families
We adapt better to life changes before the age of 75. Beyond that, these often take place in an emergency, in poor conditions, following a health problem. It is necessary, as you age, to reassess your home every ten years or so. We can call on experts, often occupational therapists, who objectively determine the advantages and disadvantages of the living environment.
Is it up to the children to open the debate?
O. of L.: Children must warn if the accommodation is difficult to access, without a lift or isolated… But the ultimate decision rests with the elderly, if they retain their free will. It’s often quite complicated to convince your parents to move: there is a lot of resistance, linked to the anxiety of change, fear of the future and of death. You have to be very pedagogical, take the time to explain and above all try to put yourself in their shoes. This decision can take months or even years.
Sometimes older people don’t see themselves growing old…
O. of L.: They are often in denial. Some, in great difficulty, refuse all help because, unconsciously or not, they fear that putting their finger in the gears of help marks the beginning of dependency, and therefore the end. You have to know how to seize opportunities, in times of crisis (fall, neighborhood problem, estrangement of a loved one, etc.), to propose solutions. It is also necessary that the children do not refuse to see that their parent declines.
How to choose the right accommodation?
O. of L.: The offer has expanded considerably, but most of the intermediate housing (serviced residences, beguinage, etc.) is suitable for relatively independent and young people. When you have health problems, you are more the responsibility of a nursing home, which should not be demonized despite recent scandals.
→ TESTIMONIALS. Retired couples, they have found a balance
There are quality establishments that provide real well-being and are preferable to complicated home care. The siblings must agree on the proposals that will be made to the parents. It is not always obvious. Behind these issues sometimes arise hidden conflicts between brothers and sisters, settling of scores that are done to the detriment of the interests of the elderly parent.