Seniors invariably face the prospect of making big life changes. More often than not, these are necessary transitions that support their changing physical and mental needs, and maybe even alleviate their financial obligations and other responsibilities. But despite the likely benefits, these changes can be quite overwhelming to seniors, which is why it’s your responsibility as family members and loved ones to offer them your invaluable help. This is especially necessary when you have a senior under your care, or at least, one you’re keeping an eye on. Here’s how, presented below by Kanika Chadda-Gupta.
Start with research
Like in everything else, due diligence is always the best place to start, especially with such a big transition at hand. When supporting a senior’s downsizing efforts, you will also want to be informed on the best way to sell their current home so you can help them get top dollar out of it, which is especially important as it’s usually these proceeds that will support their big move. This will invariably entail learning every step of the house-selling process, from preparation to pricing.
Of course, even more important is helping your senior loved one find a smaller home that’s accessible to their mobility needs and physical limitations, as well as well within budget. It’s a good idea, therefore, to get to know the housing market in their area of choice and go online to research the average cost of available homes to narrow them down to ones in their price range. When you’re exploring home prices online, be sure that you and your senior loved one remain aware of potential online threats like malware and phishing attacks.
And don’t forget to research accessible features that a home for a senior loved one should have. After all, among the main motivations of this shift is to ensure that they live in comfort and safety with some measure of independence, and an adequately accessible home makes that possible. At the very least, such a home should have an adapted bathroom—or at least, one that can be easily adapted to accommodate grab bars and the like (installing grab bars averages $243). Ditto with other functional rooms in the house. You can also add security features such as panic buttons and additional external lighting, in addition to a doorbell camera.
Lastly, don’t rule out an accessible apartment that comes equipped with elements that make aging in place easier to obtain. For instance, use websites to help you search for apartments that have disability access, elevators, and other important features. You can even search for apartments within a certain price range or neighborhood.
Explore other options
Now, while it’s probably a preference for most seniors to continue living independently, there are also cases where living alone is less than ideal. This can be due to increased physical and mental care needs, which can necessitate higher levels of care and assistance. For this reason, it’s also prudent to explore other living and care options.
For starters, an honest assessment of your loved one’s specific physical and mental condition is required. From there, it can be determined which type of senior housing is appropriate for them. For instance, a senior who only needs some assistance in daily living tasks like bathing and continence (to name a few) may thrive in assisted living, while one who needs more comprehensive care might be better off in a nursing home.
Don’t forget that this is a major decision that you shouldn’t make on your own. In fact, it’s crucial to get your senior loved one involved in the decision-making process. While your help with research and ironing out the specifics are undoubtedly valuable, you also have to be respectful of their preferences, too.
Pave the way for a smooth transition
Having to leave behind a beloved home, belongings, and loved ones for new living arrangements can be emotionally fraught for a senior, so you’ll want to make this as easy as possible. For one thing, you’ll need to help them sort out belongings so they only hold on to valuables and essentials and let go of the things that will not serve in the transition. For another, you’ll also want to help sort out the logistics of moving, paperwork of both the home sale and new acquisition, and more.
Don’t lose sight of the fact that this is a massive change for your senior loved one, so don’t take it lightly. Rather, provide your support in every way that you can. Above all, have their best interests at heart. Ultimately, as you see your senior loved one living in comfort and safety in their new home, you’ll know that your efforts have been worth it.
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Guest post by Karen Weeks