As your parents get older, they may become less mobile, less able to care for their home and themselves. It might become necessary to have a discussion about their moving into housing for senior citizens. There are many reasons why moving to an assisted living or senior care community may become beneficial for your parents. Some of these reasons include:
- The neighborhood has deteriorated and safety is a concern.
- To be near their children as statistics show that 70% of people 65 and older live within 1 hour of a child.
- To remove the hazard of stairs that may be in the home.
- Their home is too large or costly to maintain.
- Home may not meet present needs or accommodate limitations.
- Assets are tied up in the home when cash is needed.
- They don’t drive and available transportation is inadequate.
- They’ve retired and are looking for a new lifestyle.
- They’re active seniors who want to travel more and have a home that is low maintenance or maintenance free.
Since 1960 the trend for seniors has been a move from a city setting to rural or suburban setting where warmer climates and recreational opportunities abound. Studies show that when senior citizens relocate, they’re generally happy in their new location if they share common interests with other residents or neighbors and have friendly, helpful people around them.
However, it may be difficult to convince your parents that their home is no longer a beneficial place to them. In fact, it may be hazardous to them if there are steps, for example. Some warning signs to look for include:
- Changes in personal hygiene – A failure to bathe on a daily basis, wearing the same clothes all the time or sleeping in their clothes are examples of personal hygiene issues that may indicate a need for help.
- Passive Responses – “Why should I bathe or change my clothes? I don’t go anywhere!” This is one of many examples of responses that indicate a need for assistance.
- Home maintenance -When the home isn’t clean and being maintained.
- Food – When there’s no food in the refrigerator or if they’re placing to-go orders on a regular basis, it may be an indication that they’re having difficulties with driving. They may also fear driving or have a physical inability to lift the groceries out of the car.
- Fatigue and changes in attitude – If they appear more tired than usual or complain constantly, these could be signs of depression or loneliness.
- Forgetfulness – If they leave food cooking on the stove, leave the faucet on, don’t take their medications as prescribed, leave the phone off the hook or leave bills unpaid, the could be having issues with forgetfulness.
If you are seeing any of the above signs, it’s time to discuss different housing arrangements, with your senior citizen parents. One of the first steps to help them see how moving could help them is by doing a cost analysis on their home. This can include looking at expenses like:
- Mortgage and Association Fees
- Maintenance of outside, gardening
- Fire, theft and liability Insurance
- Electricity and gas
- Water, sewer and trash pickup
- Telephone and cable
- Car ownership (ownership, maintenance, repairs, insurance)
It’s important to compare the costs associated with maintaining their life in their home versus what an assisted living or continuing care retirement community offers in convenience and services. Many times senior citizens are surprised by how much living at home costs when compared against living at an assisted living facility. It’s often helpful to make two columns, one for “Living at home” and one for “Living in an assisted living facility”, so you can put the costs of each side-by-side on paper. Total each column and compare costs. Assisted or group retirement living may not be much more expensive than if they were to stay where they are. However, once you’ve examined the cost differences, it’s crucial to look at the social, stress and medical aspects for the advantages or disadvantages. Once you’ve done this analysis with your parents, it’s often easier to make decisions about whether to stay or move.