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Planning Ahead

In this interview, we hear from David McMullen, Executive Director of Development and Marketing at The GreenFields Continuing Care Community, on why planning ahead is so important.

Why do you believe it is essential for families to talk openly with loved ones about future living arrangements? What potential issues can this discussion, when done at the right time and in the right manner, help to prevent in the future?

I think it’s extremely important for seniors, their adult children, and other family members involved to talk and establish a dialogue and continue that dialogue throughout this process.

It can be a lengthy process and it’s something that generally doesn’t happen overnight. And maybe that’s for the best. It takes some careful planning and deliberation. With many residents I’ve talked to, deciding to make that move and downsize and move into a place like The GreenFields was a three-to-five year process.

I think the most important reason why the families and the seniors should really sit down and build a dialogue is because you need to have these conversations before a crisis drives the decisions. So many folks put it off because it can be, for some, a very difficult, daunting, and intimidating process and decision. It gets put off until a bad fall or another injury happens, or a dementia situation deteriorates to the point where a crisis necessitates the move.

Then you’re in a position where you have to take whatever opportunity is available to you. The GreenFields, and many other facilities in Western New York, have waiting lists. There’s not always just the right level of care or the right apartment available. You don’t want to wait until a crisis mode dictates that you just have to go wherever there might be an opening. It’s really best to develop a dialogue before that. That way, the family members can all work through the process together without the added difficulty and stress of a crisis situation.

There was a wonderful couple living at The GreenFields who were together for 68 years. Each had only lived in two houses during their entire lives- the house they were born in, and the one they moved into and lived in together. Their adult children watched their parents begin to struggle with falls, going up and down to the basement steps to do laundry, etc., and spent three years talking to Mom and Dad about moving to The GreenFields. But Dad wanted to die in his house. Finally he took a bad fall during a doctor visit and shattered bones in his leg, so he moved into our rehabilitation center and Mom moved into our independent apartment homes at GreenField Manor.

In this arrangement, both received the appropriate level of care and support that they needed, yet because all of our levels of care are offered on the same campus, they could still spend their days together, eat meals and watch TV together, and negotiate the changes that life brought them, together, and their children had the peace of mind of knowing that each were in the right place for them.

The mother said to me, “It was a very hard decision but inside, something tells you that you just can’t do in anymore.”  She adjusted well after moving into her apartment and made new friends and found a new support structure at the GreenField Manor.

Get in Touch

At The GreenFields Continuing Care Community, our mission is to provide for the physical, social, and spiritual needs of those we serve, in a Christian environment. We believe in the dignity and worth of each individual and that every resident of our continuing care communities should be encouraged to retain or regain the highest level of independence possible. As such, we provide a variety of care and service options – from residential living and outpatient rehabilitation to long-term skilled nursing and memory care – all so you can make the right choice for your needs.

Contact us to learn more.

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Niagara Lutheran
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716.684.8400

5959 Broadway
Lancaster, NY 14086

Niagara Lutheran Health Foundation

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