Many older adults plan to live out their years in the comfort of their own homes. The alternative is often too painful to think about. After managing their lives for decades, raising families, and enjoying successful careers, the thought of giving up their independence can be unbearable. But sometimes, that sense of independence keeps them in their homes for longer than is safe. That’s when relocation management for seniors comes into play.
It’s painful to watch our parents go through that. Especially if they still live in the home where they raised us. That’s where they belong — it’s hard to envision them living anywhere else.
But when they are no longer safe at home, you may need to encourage them to relocate.
When Should You Consider Relocation?
It’s difficult to see our parents growing older and losing physical and cognitive function. Occasional forgetfulness or mistakes are a natural part of aging, so how do you know when to be concerned? Here are warning signs that your loved one may be experiencing more than a little forgetfulness.
- Everyday needs not being met. If you notice bills stacking up unopened, a lack of food in the house, or difficulty following instructions, you should be concerned
- Confusion about time and place, wandering or getting lost near home
- Repetition. Telling you the same story over and over
- Difficulty communicating, stops mid-thought, “loses” words
- Unable to manage medications or money
- Personality changes like anxiety, suspicion, or loss of interest in activities
- Unsafe in their own home – frequent falls, unable to navigate stairs, leaving doors and windows open
- Declining self-care. Forgetting to brush teeth or shower, unmanaged incontinence, unbrushed hair, forgetting to eat
All of the above can be signs of developing dementia. Over 6 million Americans have Alzheimer’s. Not all older adults will develop dementia, but Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia in those that do.
Cognitive decline isn’t the only reason to relocate an older family member. Physical decline, illness, or injury can also make it dangerous for an older adult to live alone.
Even if you’re sure your parent should relocate for safety or health reasons, it’s not necessarily an easy conversation to have with them. They may not see the facts the same way you do, especially if they’re showing signs of dementia.
The first step is to start a difficult conversation.
How to Begin the Conversation
Talking to your parent about moving out of their home into a safer place can be a difficult and emotional conversation. They may feel afraid to leave the home they know, angry that you’re suggesting it, embarrassed by their decline, or all of the above.
Approaching the topic with kindness and concern is essential to maintaining trust. The conversation might be easier if other trusted family members or friends are present to support you and your parent.
Together with your parent and other family members, discuss:
- Why you believe it’s time to make a change
- Possible living options and locations
- How much care or assistance is needed
- How your loved one’s lifestyle will change
- Everyone’s role in the transition
- The timeline for the move
If your parent already had a plan in place, it may simply be a matter of implementing it. If they don’t have a plan (and most Americans over age 40 do not), research is needed to find the best option.
Many people don’t realize there are different types of homes and levels of care available – or the criteria for each. Your parent may be more comfortable in a private home or may need the services of a long-term care facility. Whether your parent needs an occasional hand with everyday tasks or round-the-clock care and services, the right place is out there.
Navigating the options may seem overwhelming at first. But you don’t have to do it alone.
Reflections Management and Relocation Management for Seniors
At Reflections Management and Care, we’re life care specialists. Our geriatric care manager can help coordinate the services and care your loved one needs. We specialize in relocation management for seniors, helping you evaluate and navigate the available care options.
Like you, we want your parents to be as safe and healthy as possible. Together, we’ll find a place that feels like home.
We’re here for you.
Call us at 315-497-7200 or contact us on our website to start the conversation