November 21, 2014

Medina
Intermittent clouds
20°F

When is the right time to leave ‘home’?

TeaTimeFew people like to admit their age is affecting them. However, as we age, certain abilities become compromised, and it may no longer be practical for aging men and women to remain in their homes, or at least live there alone.

Comfortable living alone may be a signal to an older adult that he or she still has independence. Taking away a license or suggesting a move may cause feelings of animosity. But at some point in time, friends or family members of an aging man or woman might need to broach the topic of moving to an assisted living facility. Such a discussion can be difficult, but having some evidence that a change is necessary may make the news easier to process. Sometimes the older adult may have already made the decision that a move is necessary, which will make the process even easier.

Moving should never be a knee-jerk reaction unless there is a sudden medical emergency that necessitates fast action. Under normal circumstances, moving should be a gradual process that begins even before a parent, grandparent or other relative really needs to change residences. Here are some steps to keep in mind.

* Make sure to develop a strong relationship with your loved one. This relationship should be consistent and keep you in frequent contact so you can best assess his or her living situation.

* Talk things over with other siblings or relatives to see if others feel the same way you do. Perhaps they have a different point of view.

* If there are problems at home, make your case by pointing them out. Show the elder adult how day-to-day life has grown more difficult and how certain burdens may be lifted by changing living situations.

* Indicate that access to health care and a safe environment are some of the key benefits of moving to a senior community. Point out other benefits, such as companionship with similarly aged people, activities, transportation, and the presence of a maintenance staff to ensure nothing falls into disrepair.

* Do your research and have the names and amenities of different residences available to discuss. Request brochures from senior communities and offer to make trips to view the homes together with your senior relative.

* If the idea of a “home” is not what your loved one has in mind, discuss the options of moving in with a relative and if this would be a more comfortable situation.

* You may need a mediator or help with finding the right fit for a loved one. Consider hiring a geriatric care manager to help you organize your thoughts and priorities regarding a senior living transition. These individuals provide services that include helping families locate appropriate housing and care services for their loved ones.

Not every senior needs to leave home, but the topic should be broached if assistance with day-to-day activities is needed.