If you are healthy and fully functional on your own, now is the time to give this serious consideration.
The best answer may be to age in place as long as feasible and then move into a multi-functional living location. The problem is you and your adult children may not agree on when is the best or most appropriate time to make this type of move, if ever. Your best defense is a good offense. Get out in front of this and plan for what is best for you and/or your spouse now.
First, let’s define our two terms. “Age in place” means you will continue to live in your home and when the time comes that you need help with activities of daily living, you will have someone come to your home to help you and provide these services.
To move into a “multi-functional living location” means you will live in an apartment at a location where three stages of care are provided. The first stage is independent living where the primary “care” provided is daily meals and weekly house cleaning. At this same location, assisted living is also provided and available for when that level of care is needed. And the third level of care provided is memory care. Memory care is specialized care for individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease who cannot fully care for themselves.
There are two key questions to answer:
Does the answer change if you are alone? If your spouse passes away before you?
What if you can no longer drive, or better yet, shouldn’t be driving? Does this change your answer?
Do you want social interaction readily available, as would be the case in a multi-functional living location or are you just fine living by yourself in your home?
Many people do not plan for this stage of life soon enough. Instead, they get caught off guard and are forced to make hasty decisions due to a fall or other emergency.
When a little extra help is needed, this usually starts with meal preparation. Fixing meals for one’s self or for two people is a big chore and often falls by the wayside. Arthritis or a disability might make this down right impossible or so painful the elderly stop doing it. At this point nutrition and health become a concern.
After meal preparation, the next life challenges typically facing the elderly includes getting to and from doctor appointments, help with bathing and dressing, and successfully taking their medications.
None of us want to have an “intervention” where we effectively force our parents or loved ones into a living situation they do not want or are not prepared for, even when we know it is in their best interest. Exceptions to this often occur when a loved one has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
What obstacles might you run into when helping loved ones through this stage of life? Or, what might others run into when trying to help you through these decisions? Here are some things that you may encounter:
Talk through these life choices with your loved ones well ahead of when decisions are forced upon you. The worst thing to do is not talk about these choices ahead of time and then have to deal with them when emotions are high and choices are limited.
As is often the case with significant life decisions, personal finances play a big role in the decisions to be made. This is especially true for these life decisions.
Here are a few things to think about:
Here are two references: