Is It Time To Move?
Surveys of older adults show that most of us would like to stay in our homes as we get older. We have invested time and money in making our homes exactly as we’d like. Maybe we know all the neighbors or live near cherished family members. It makes sense. The familiar environment is comforting. But there are occasions when older adults make the decision to move out of their home, often encouraged by families out of concern for their older adult relative’s health or safety. This is a big decision, and each family will have its own process and priorities.
There are many reasons why older adults may choose to move out of their homes.
- Ready to downsize. A lifetime of accumulating mementos, books, furniture, artwork and clothing can really add up! Older adults may begin to question why they have all that stuff, and if they really need it anymore. Some older adults still have a lot of their children’s stuff long after those kids are grown and have homes of their own.
- Too dangerous. Whether it is an upstairs bathroom or the stairway up to the front door, there may be features of an older adult’s home that no longer suit them. When home modifications are no longer adequate to address potentially hazardous features of the home, older adults may choose to find a more suitable place to live.
- Far from relatives. As we age, our priorities may change. Perhaps the sunny tropical location you settled in many years ago is not nearly as important you as your proximity to adorable grandchildren in the next state over! Our needs change as we age as well. And if a person needs additional care, it’s good to be close to relatives who may be able to lend a helping hand.
- Availability of specialized medical care. Millions of Americans live in “care deserts” or places more than 30 miles away from a hospital. As we get older, we may require more care or specialized medical care such as a cardiologist, podiatrist or endocrinologist. Living far away from available care could become a serious inconvenience. Or perhaps, an injury requiring acute care could become more serious if not treated in a timely manner. Older adults may choose to live closer to their care providers.
- Labor and maintenance. Homes require a lot of maintenance. Older adults may not be keen on climbing a ladder to clean out the gutters every fall. Indoor tasks like dusting, vacuuming, and washing the dishes could be outsourced, but some older adults would rather be done with the responsibilities of home caretaking all together.
Older adults have lots of options to choose from if they do decide that their current home no longer serves their needs. Concerned family members should prepare in advance to broach the subject. It’s best to have that conversation before an illness or injury forces the issue. Experts say concerned loved ones should lead with open-ended questions like “Do you feel safe at home?” and empathetically listen when your adult relative responds.
If it’s time to move, Alden has lots of good options. Alden Assisted Living Communities provide the support you need to remain as independent as possible. Care is provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week as well as assistance with activities of daily living when needed.
The information in this article is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have questions about you or a loved one’s well-being at home, consult your health care provider.