It starts with honesty – with your loved ones and yourself. What are your healthcare needs, or your loved one’s healthcare needs? Can you maintain your home without risking injury, or can you live at home with home health care assistance? What can you afford as you age?
The conversations may be difficult at times. There might be anger, denial and confusion. But as the aging process takes a toll on individuals and their caregivers, being realistic about the level of care needed and what is affordable is the best way forward.
The conversation should focus on health and safety. Research potential options. Make a list of places to visit. Know what you are comfortable spending. Understand the level of access you might need to rehabilitation, skilled care, home health or hospice. Virginia Health Services offers a continuing line of care to help at every stage of aging.
Approach each visit by trying to picture yourself living there. Consider your routine and how it might fit in the new space. Do you feel comfortable? Examine how the place looks and evaluate cleanliness, maintenance, staff friendliness and accessibility. Take into consideration what is included – housekeeping, linen and laundry service, food, activities and transportation – and ask about staffing ratios. Read reviews and talk to friends who are familiar with the locations you visit.
Downsizing is difficult, but may be necessary in transitioning to a new home. In looking for new space, know your living limits. Is getting up and down stairs difficult, or do you need ambulatory help? Can the bathroom and bedroom be modified if needed for medical equipment? Are the outlets where you can reach them? Do you have a pet and is it allowed in your selected community?
As you pack up possessions, be realistic as to what is necessary to keep, to give away to loved ones, and what you can live without. Think about the space to which you are moving and what will fit. Consider what to keep to make the new space feel more like home, such as pictures, artwork and heirloom furniture.
There are senior move managers who specialize in helping individuals make transitions, whether nearby or farther away from where they’ve always called home. Visit the National Association of Senior & Specialty Move Managers to learn more and find a move manager near you.
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