The past 2 years I have spent countless hours learning about seniors and their issues from various people who have been working in the elder care services industry. The one thing that I still cannot figure out is why their children, mainly baby boomers, have not stepped up to ensure their parents safety? What I mean by that is why does it seem to take an accident or tragedy before the serious issue of where to live is talked about between the seniors and their children? The statistics show one in three people over 65 fall but don’t tell their doctors so this is an issue that will continue to grow exponentially.
Take for instance a referral call I recently received from a senior care community. The client’s daughter drives up weekly (about a 2 hour drive) to take care of her 94 year old father. His son lives with him part-time but is gone for days at a time due to his job. The senior care community had an available apartment but he would need to sell his home in order to pay for his stay. That is not unusual and I knew that I would need to outline the timeline for the daughter to quickly sell her father’s home. That’s when dad decided to veto her decision to sell the property with a Realtor® because he was a retired appraiser. Dad wanted to renew his license and sell the home himself in order to save money. What happened next was the biggest surprise. She let him.
This is not unusual. Grown adults who would never compromise their children’s safety let their aging parents make decisions that could jeopardize their lives because they refuse to put on the grown up clothes. In this particular case the child is the executor of his estate so I don’t understand why she didn’t have “the talk” with dad and overrule his decision. How safe could that be? Her father no longer drives so is home all day. He wouldn’t be hanging a lockbox to track people entering and collect their information through lockboxes that Realtors® use. He would publish his information online for anyone to see but is that the best situation to expose him to? How many scams are there that target seniors and yet he’s willing to open his door to complete strangers to save a few dollars?
Although it is a difficult situation it’s one I’m hearing more often than I’d like. The old adage of fail to plan or plan to fail comes to mind. Baby boomers are faced with the daunting task of facing their parent’s old age. Some will have solutions in place and some will scramble last minute to make quick decisions that will affect their parent’s lives for good or bad…what will you do? It’s time to put on the grown up clothes and start the discussion and allow your parents to have their say.
Beth Moran is a Broker Associate with REMAX Gold in the Sacramento Valley of northern California. She has been selling real estate since 1999. She is a current member of the Sacramento Association of Realtors Professional Standards Committee and is a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES), Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist (CPRES) and trained by Pepperdine University in Mediation and Dispute Resolution. Email Beth at Beth@SacAgent.com