In part two of our blog trilogy, How to Move an Elderly Family Member Into Your Home, we’re looking at arrangements that should be handled with care when transitioning to this new way of life.
Our needs as we age go beyond just medical care, to include mental and emotional health as well as having enough space, time and independence. Live In Place has compiled key decisions families tend to overlook when moving a loved one in. You and your family member can make these decisions together BEFORE the move happens.
1. The Big Move
It’s important to have an open conversation with your family member about what their needs are versus what you think they might be. Do you and your loved one’s answers to these questions match? If not, you may need to compromise.
Some of the biggest questions to discuss are:
Will they have their own room or living quarters?
What furniture or other belongings do they plan bringing?
What are their biggest fears about this move?
2. Socialization in a New Area
Your loved one may feel as though they have lost control over their own schedule. Being far away from friends and other family in their previous vicinity can also be a big adjustment so it’s important to understand how much socialization your loved one needs. You can start by simply asking if they’re an introvert or extrovert or what activities they enjoy doing with others.
Look for senior day centers near your home as well as bus services to and from the center. Churches also have senior groups that meet up frequently - is there a church of their choice close by? You can’t be their sole source of socialization and emotional support.
3. Keep the Hobbies Going
If you have the space within your home or their room, encourage your loved one to maintain their hobbies. Financially supporting their hobbies while not compromising your own budget is a great way to ease the transition from living independently to living with family.
Finding local places where they can pursue their hobbies such as a community college, craft stores, Recreation & Parks departments and other organized class or activity resources. Hobbies can provide socialization and joy for your loved one as well as mental stimulation.
4. To Drive or Not to Drive
Is your loved one still driving and capable of doing so comfortably? If not, it may be time to discuss alternate means of transportation. This can be a loaded conversation and your family member may feel like they’re losing their sense of independence. If you’re not comfortable with your loved one driving, adjusting your schedule to offer them rides may be an agreeable solution.
Getting your family member to and from the car will also need to be addressed. Click here to schedule your in-home safety assessment and determine if ramps or grab bars in your garage could make this transition safer for your loved one.
5. POA, Wills, DNR’s and Other Paperwork
It’s important to have conversations about and create the necessary paperwork for major medical and financial decisions BEFORE your family member is no longer able to make these choices. Leaving these types of crucial documents to the last minute may be detrimental to both you and your loved one.
Your family member may already have a will, a POA (Power of Attorney), a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate order) or other specific wishes they want followed in the event they’re not able to communicate with you. Be sure you both have a copy of any pertinent paperwork kept in a safe place.
Remember - Just because a medical or financial Power of Attorney has been assigned to you, doesn’t mean you can make decisions without input from your loved one. Until they are declared incompetent, they’re very involved in the decisions that effect their daily lives and your support is going to be needed.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of this blog series where we’ll discuss how to handle the physical space required for the move as well as significant schedule changes your family may experience. Read Part #1 here.