By Janet Campbell
According to a recent AARP study, 90% of Americans over 65 want to stay in their homes as they age. Some can accomplish it solo, but others need additional help to age in place. The following guide explains how to tell if it's time for you to move in with an older loved one.
Watch for Signs
Regular visits with your older parents or other loved ones are essential so you notice if their behavior or physical abilities decline. For example, withdrawing from activities they love, neglecting their appearance, and isolating from family and friends are signs of needing additional care. Other clues are physical problems such as falls, memory issues, or the inability to do household tasks.
Make an appointment with the older adult's primary care doctor for tests to determine if a physical ailment is causing the problems. Perhaps a new medication or therapy can solve the issue. Next, visit a neurologist for a cognitive assessment and recommendations for treatment. These medical visits help you decide if simple changes can be made to keep your loved ones alone in their home or if it's time for you to move in and assist with their care.
Modifying Their Home
Modifications to a home may be necessary so someone can continue to live alone. Caring Senior Service notes that installing smart home devices can automate many processes for older people. You can also hire professionals to take over some maintenance tasks, such as housekeeping and landscaping. Arrange to have any repairs done to the home to keep it in good shape, as well as keep it safe and secure for the entire family. Reach out to Meals on Wheels America to have a nutritious meal delivered on weekdays so seniors don't have to cook every day.
Finally, be sure to keep track of all the home updates you make. Keep receipts for any work that’s completed and take before-and-after photos; the information could come in handy if you need an appraisal in the near future.
Making the Right Move
If it is evident your older loved ones can no longer safely live in their home on their own, you may need to move closer and assist in their care. First, speak with a senior care advisor to determine if moving to an assisted living facility is necessary or if home care is an option. Then, have an honest discussion with your loved ones so you can agree on what living option will work best for all of you.
If you decide to move in and help with care, here are a few tips to keep you sane during the moving process:
- Decide if you want to sell your furniture or pay to have it moved.
- Go through all your possessions and decide what items are essential enough to take with you and sell or donate the rest.
- Make sure you clearly label your boxes so you know exactly where everything is. This can make it easier to unpack once you’ve arrived.
- Consider renting a movable portable storage container instead of a moving truck to have your belongings transported.
- Arrange a fun packing party with your friends to make the task more enjoyable.
Once you are settled in your loved one's home, make an effort to meet the neighbors and get out and explore your new city.
Watching for signs of failing health and doing medical assessments helps you determine if an older loved one can safely age in place alone or if you need to move in and help.
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