With your senior loved one's health on the decline, you have some tough decisions to make. You may have to move closer or have them move to you. Arranging for their care is going to be a challenge, emotionally as well as practically. It's important to be compassionate – both to them and to you – and take the long-term view when making your choices.
Below is a checklist of the primary considerations to make when rethinking your senior loved one's living arrangement:
Semi-independent living or full-time care
The best living arrangement for your senior loved one depends on their current state of health. Are they capable of basic tasks like getting out of bed, preparing meals, and taking medication? Assisted living, where someone can check in on them from time to time, may be an option. Otherwise, they may need full-time care. Talk to their doctor before making the call.
Taking a realistic look at where you personally stand
Caring for someone personally is a big responsibility. You may have to make sacrifices and lose work and leisure time. It's important to look after yourself and consider your needs if you decide to be the primary caregiver. Not everyone is in a position to care for their loved ones personally, whether due to life circumstances or because of a strained relationship – and that's okay. Be realistic about what you can and can't do, and be at peace knowing you're doing what you can.
Choosing a suitable living option
Depending on your loved one's state of health, you have multiple living options. You could move closer to them, have them move closer, or even move them in. The other options are independent living communities, retirement communities, and hiring home care services. If your loved one needs specialized medical care, you can move them into a nursing home, memory care home, or similar institution.
Adding senior-friendly modifications
If you decide on a semi-independent living arrangement, where they live in their own house (or with you), consider making it senior-friendly to avoid mishaps and to make your loved one more comfortable. Some typical additions are extra wide door frames, skid-free flooring, wheelchair access, more lighting, and grab bars.
Paying for the move
You have multiple miscellaneous expenses to account for, from moving to your loved one to arranging medical care. Check whether your senior loved one has insurance or adequate assets (like a house) to cover the costs. If they don't, you and your family may have to chip in. You can also check if your loved one qualifies for an assistance program.
Making the moving process less stressful
Moving can be an incredibly stressful experience for everyone. For your senior loved one, it may be doubly so: They have to deal with health problems on top of leaving their beloved house. You will have to consider their emotional and mental state. Being there for them throughout and having friends and family over can help. Getting professional help with moving can also make the process smoother and less stressful for everyone involved.
When hiring a mover, it's important to do your research. Read reviews on Angi before you talk to the local movers in your area – you don't want someone inconsiderate. Be sure to meet the moving company to discuss your needs and get a quote. Always insist on a written estimate, don't settle for a verbal one over the phone. Legitimate professional movers will inspect your senior loved one's home before giving you a figure.
For when they can no longer make their own decisions
Lastly, as difficult as it may be, you should plan for a time your loved one becomes incapacitated. They may no longer be able to make their own decisions, medical or otherwise. With estate planning, you can make their arrangements on their behalf. Also, in the event of their demise, their assets will be distributed in line with their wishes.
Remember to constantly communicate with your loved one throughout the process – with tact, patience, and kindness. Their needs and wants matter, and they may need reassurances from you. Be there for each other and you will get through it together.