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Healthy Aging and Housing: Moving vs. Aging in Place

 Posted by Kim Peterson on September 23, 2021 at 1:00 PM

Healthy Aging and Housing: Moving vs. Aging in Place

Establishing short-term and long-term housing goals can help families plan ahead for large moving or remodeling projects. It is best to consider changes to home and housing as early as possible in order to avoid situations where last minute decisions may wreak havoc on financial and emotional stability.

Today, older adults are fortunate to have many housing choices, including independent living, assisted living, active adult communities and the ability to continuing living at home with assistance and safety modifications. Reorganizing, remodeling and redesign may also serve to make existing home environments comfortable for years to come.

Moving

While a change in health often initiates a senior move, many aging adults simply decide they no longer want to stay in a home that is too large or requires a great deal of maintenance. Increasingly, older adults choose to move to a residential setting designed exclusively for seniors. This lifestyle choice provides a number of benefits such as safety, security, meal plans and health care services.

Regardless of these benefits, many older adults and their families are overwhelmed at the thought of managing a move late in a loved one’s life. Fortunately, companies like Caring Transitions work closely with Senior Living Communities to help manage the entire move process from start to finish. A wide range of services are available including space planning, sorting, downsizing, packing, unpacking, plus van line and real estate referrals, as well as liquidation of personal property through a professional estate sale and online auction.

Staying at Home

According to AARP, over 85% of older adults prefer to age in their own homes. Today, there are more agencies and tools available that can make your “stay at home” choice a safer and more achievable reality.

Just as with our moving options, older adults need to evaluate their real needs, finances and community/caregiving resources and then formulate a “stay at home” plan.

If you or an older relative decides to stay in his/her own home or apartment but finds household tasks too overwhelming, or needs assistance with personal or health care issues, an array of home care support services are available in most communities. Contacting your local Area Agency on Aging or home health care agencies can help you obtain access to these services.


Planning for a Late Life Move or Aging-in-Place

An increased number of resources are available in communities and online. There are basic tools to control what could be a stressful family situation. Use the tips below to create a healthy aging plan that includes short term and long-term housing goals.

Assess the Situation

Decide how you or an aging loved one feels about changing health and household needs by asking simple, open-ended and non-threatening questions. Then Consider these three primary areas which may require third-party professional assessment:

  • medical concerns
  • cognitive concerns
  • assessment of functional abilities or “Activities of Daily Living” (ADL’s includes items such as socialization, personal hygiene and the ability to prepare meals, take medications and manage finances)

Organize Important Information

Have an open conversation with family members to review the location of important medical, legal and financial documents and determine who will need access to this information. Alternatively, you may prefer to keep paperwork in the hands of legal or financial representatives.

Establish a Support System

A healthy aging plan often involves a team approach. Resources vary for every family, and may involve medical professionals, social services, care managers, home care providers, attorneys, financial advisors and more. If possible, enlist more support in the form of relatives, close friends, neighbors, religious leaders or other associates.

Map a Path to Your Goal

As conversations progress, openly discuss short- and long-term housing options. Take into account the advice of professionals and assess the best outcome that includes personal wishes. Once areas of necessary support have been identified, communicate with local or family care givers to make sure things are progressing as planned.