Parents spend their whole lives caring for their children, and many of those children now are caring for their parents. According to Kelley Hamilton of Bonaventure Senior Living, some adult children visit their parents in their homes and help out. For others, caretaking can mean blending households. But many people are also choosing an assisted living community, says Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO, as such places are gaining the reputation of being a positive place to end one’s days. As the chief executive officer for a company that builds and manages many senior living communities, Kelley Hamilton of Bonaventure knows these facilities are active communities where seniors can actually live life.
In this interview with the staff of Interviewing Experts, Kelley Hamilton of Bonaventure talks about the independence seniors gain by choosing an assisted living community. Kelley Hamilton of Bonaventure also gives seniors and their adult children advice on how to make the transition as easy as possible.
Interviewing Experts: Thanks for joining us.
Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO: Thank you for having me.
Interviewing Experts: Many people associate assisted living with giving up independence. Is this really the case?
Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO: No, they really don’t give up independence; they actually gain independence through the move.
Interviewing Experts: But many children with elderly parents feel guilty dropping them off at an assisted living community.
Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO: This is the biggest educational piece that we do when we talk with families and residents. It is definitely not something to feel guilty about. These children are really giving their parents their independence back.
Interviewing Experts: But wouldn’t seniors enjoy more independence in their own homes?
Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO: That’s what many people think. One thing I began to observe was that many seniors who sat at home were often overcome by depression.
Interviewing Experts: How sad! Why does that happen?
Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO: For seniors who no longer can do things they used to be able to do in their home, sitting in the same familiar environment can become depressive.
Interviewing Experts: Can this lead to medical issues?
Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO: Absolutely. A lot of times, depression becomes masked by other physical symptoms, where seniors start not feeling great or having memory issues.
Interviewing Experts: What about seniors living with their children?
Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO: That’s a good point, but a recent survey stated that only a quarter of seniors said they would want to live with their children.
Interviewing Experts: What’s the best way to prepare for this process?
Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO: First, seniors and their families need to explore various housing and care options. Every assisted living community is different, but children should remember that their parents should live life on their own terms.
Interviewing Experts: Is the process confusing?
Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO: It can be a confusing and overwhelming process. There is a lot to deal with. But with the right information and a commitment to doing your homework, it can also be a joyful process that results in a wonderful new home.
Interviewing Experts: What key issues should be addressed?
Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO: Where they will live, of course, is a big issue. The state of their health is an important part in this decision. How much care will they need? What activities will they enjoy? And of course their finances need to be in order.
Interviewing Experts: What if parents refuse to have this conversation?
Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO: It’s important to respect their feelings when they make it clear they want to avoid the subject. However, consider pushing the issue if the parents’ health or safety is at risk.
Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO, also points out that seniors tend to stay very active while living in an assisted living community. Kelley Hamilton and Bonaventure staff schedule regular social activities for their residents. Kelley Hamilton of Bonaventure currently resides in Oregon.