Be patient with seniors thinking of leaving their family home.
Here are some tips for family members trying to help:
- Pay attention to the signs that the senior in your life may not be able to take care of basic needs such as cleanliness, adequate nutrition, managing of medications, etc. But before you panic and begin to talk of making a move, look into home health care options or working with other family members to give them the help they need. It is often possible for the senior to stay in their home (if this is what they want) with a little bit of help and support.
- If more than "a little" help is needed, look in to what housing alternatives are available. Consider what is really needed - a retirement apartment provides meals, activities, etc. but not much in the way of daily health care. There are many degrees of help available. The first step is to look around at the various alternatives by visiting some of the facilities abailable. Then decide which one offers the best fit. Cost is, of course, usually a factor so call ahead to get the financial information first. Then just bring your senior to the places that will fit their budget. The first step after deciding that a move is necessary is to find the place the senior will feel comfortable living. It is too scary to imagine being "homeless" whether you are 7 or 70.
- Once you have located a new home and have a projected move in date, it is time to think about the sale of the family home. A good Realtor with experience working with seniors will make this much simpler. Sometimes it is easier on the senior to move first (if finances are not a problem). That way they do not have to deal with strangers coming to view the house. Many times, h owever, I have found that they like the company and are actually a little disappointed when the house sells and buyers stop coming. The good news is that once they make the move, they wil have a lot of social interaction and will not be as isolated as they were in their old home.