You may not be able to keep your parents from going into a nursing home but these tactics will increase their chances of living independently:
* Put money aside. Seniors who can dress and bathe themselves may need to hire someone to help with cooking, using the telephone, paying bills, managing medications, etc. If saving is difficult, a reverse mortgage can provide the needed cash.
* Don’t rush into assisted living. Moving to an assisted living facility is usually a temporary tactic. The average length of stay is two years, after which residents often go into a nursing home.
* Be careful at home. An ‘elder-friendly" home (second railings on the stairs, grab bars by the tub, etc.) will enable seniors to stay there longer, rather than go into an institution.
* Designate an advocate. Frail elders need someone to provide support in dealing with home care workers, government agencies, etc. This should be a loved one who lives nearby.