Thanks for visiting the Ro & Steve blog.
We’re on a mission because nothing is easy about caring for an aging parent. Not. A. Thing.
My wife Lindsay and I started the care journey with my mom, Rosemary, and her dad, Steve, at just about the same time. An unfortunate coincidence, we were simultaneously arriving at the conclusion that we couldn’t provide the care they needed on our own.
We were fortunate that professional care, in assisted living or in the home, was an option for us. It wasn’t going to be easy, but it was an option.
After what seemed like an eternity and buckets full of tears, we were able to get our parents (mostly) onboard with the fact that they needed more care than we could provide as a family. When we finally had agreement on a general path forward, we exhaled. The hard part was behind us–or so we thought.
Looking back now, it’s true that crossing the chasm of getting Mom and Steve onboard with moving to an assisted living facility was really, really hard. It was the hardest part of the equation. We were right to exhale but wrong to think the hard work was behind us entirely. In comparison, we assumed the process of finding the right senior living community or care agency for our parents would be easy and (relatively) stress free.
So on we went, quickly realizing how wrong we were. Expecting the clouds to lift, we were surprised when they didn’t. We found ourselves still in a fog of uncertainty and loneliness. It enveloped me, covering everything.
The feeling of being overrun by an intense and innate urgency to protect Mom. She’s always taken care of me, how was I going to know what the right place was for her?
The shopping process for the right assisted living facility felt similar to going into a car dealership (at times). Tours of facilities seemed staged, I didn’t get a real sense of what it’d be like for Mom to be a resident, and I felt some sales pressure.
We wanted to learn about the daily reality of life of residents–and what their families thought–but couldn’t find information we trusted online. We discounted testimonials on assisted living facility websites. Something about reviews of X, solicited by X, on X’s website….
When we did find reviews of assisted living communities on 3rd party websites, we had to deal with telemarketers (and often more sales pressure) and found the reviews to lack context. We were looking for transparency and striking out. Feeling disheartened and isolated, the breakthrough for us came offline.
It was thanks to an amazing non-profit organization (Alzheimer’s Family Support Center of Cape Cod) whose mission is to help families wade through all of what we were going through. Their services were provided at no cost to us–and all they wanted to do was help. They wanted to help us make informed decisions and they wanted to help us feel less alone.
This organization provided invaluable guidance, support, and connections. The information we got as a result, was honest and unfiltered. We were now connected to people who’d been through it and who were willing to share their experience. Like I said, a Godsend.
Hearing about their parent’s experience at this facility or with that agency was found gold to us–what was good and wasn’t so good, what they’d do differently if they had to do it again etc. We were no longer alone. We were now empowered to educate ourselves about, and make, these difficult decisions with a higher level of confidence.
Now We’re on a Mission
We’re starting Ro & Steve to build a digital community like the offline community we were so lucky to stumble upon. A community where the experience is focused on the user who needs the information, and helping them to know they’re not alone in this experience.
On Ro & Steve, you don’t need to deal with telemarketers. We’re making it super easy to read about the experience of others–or share your own. Because sharing your own experience can be cathartic–and sooooo helpful to many people walking the road you’ve already been down. Along the way, we’ll (and hopefully users too!) be sharing our daily experience as caregivers, in the Ro & Steve blog–all about every day happenings.
Above all, we’re building Ro & Steve to make the process of finding the right care situation for yourself or your loved one, more transparent and less lonely.
Whether it’s the reviews or the Ro & Steve blog (or both), we hope it helps.