Determining where to relocate can be overwhelming for an elderly person. Meanwhile, their family members can feel equally overwhelmed in choosing among various options. From selecting between geographic locales to determining if – and how much – assisted living services are needed, picking the best option for yourself or your loved one in accordance with individual needs and financial circumstances can be daunting. Even after acceptable options have been identified, ascertaining their personal needs such as size of living space, their care needs and many other factors are important to making good decisions related to senior relocation.
The following describes how engaging a senior placement professional (or senior referral agent) can aid you or your family member to navigate any (or all) aspects of the relocation process.
Most Common Reasons that Elderly-Aged People Relocate
At least 13 percent of the entire US population changes residences each year, and downsizing is customary among seniors. This downsizing often occurs due to a preference to no longer perform such chores as lawn-mowing or snow-shoveling, along with the arthritic hips/knees that preclude climbing a flight of stairs to reach a bedroom on a second floor. Loss of a spouse, symptoms of dementia, and reduced physical mobility are other common reasons. Even for active seniors, the desire to live closer to children and grandchildren or reside in a warmer climate can lead to contemplating residential relocation.
Assisted Living versus Independent Living
If there is a compelling event that changes the physical or mental condition of a senior, assisted living may need to be explored. Social workers are often involved in identifying unmet needs of dementia-afflicted elders living in their homes that leads subsequently to relocation decision-making by family caregivers (per an article in Social Work Today). While an elderly person diagnosed with mobility or mental impairment may require personal care services associated with residence in an assisted living community, a senior-aged person no longer wishing to upkeep a large house may find independent or assisted living suitable for current needs.
Senior placement professionals can help family caregivers (as well as the senior-aged person) to figure out whether relocating to an independent living setting or assisted living setting makes the most sense. Likewise, such senior placement professionals (also commonly called senior referral agents) can aid you as an older-aged person (or your family members) to determine whether the level of care services provided in a given assisted living facility will meet actual needs.
Long-term expenditures, monthly costs, and additional fees need to be considered when making relocation decisions. Some assisted living residences offer regular daily assistance, while others offer limited assistance daily or weekly. The advantage of utilizing a senior placement professional (or senior referral agent) to compare options for you is that a more realistic assessment of likely annual cost can be calculated – which is vital if the total annual cost cannot exceed a given dollar amount without causing dire financial hardship.
Legal Considerations when Relocating to an Assisted Living or Independent Living Community
Both cognitive decline and worsened vision can make navigating legal documents or contracts provided by a preferred assisted living or independent living community difficult. A senior placement professional can help review such documents and can enable a clear understanding of such agreements. One example of such is that some facilities disallow pets (which can be a “deal-breaker” for a pet-owner that is solely willing to relocate to a residential facility allowing tenants with pets). According to an article in Forbes Magazine in 2020, 62 percent of senior-aged respondents to a survey about pet-ownership reported having a dog – and 55 percent reported having a cat!
Grocery-Shopping, Laundry Facilities, and Leisure Activities
Similar to the considerations faced by younger adults, elderly people considering a relocation need to assess the proximity of grocery stores, pharmacies, and/or preferred leisure activities. While some residential facilities suitable for older-aged people include a washing machine and dryer in each unit, others do not. Meanwhile, public transportation access to buy food or visit a movie theater may be needed by senior-aged people who are no longer able to safely-drive a car.
A senior placement professional (or senior referral agent) can help someone to learn whether moving to a particular residence will simplify performing the above-mentioned activities – and, thereby, limit any potential disappointment in the new residence following the relocation.
Where Do the Belongings Fit in the New Residence?
One of the benefits of utilizing a senior placement professional (or senior referral agent) for elderly people who have hoarding tendencies is the ability to manage how treasured items can fit in closets and cupboards. Through enabling a person needing to downsize to preserve special items in the new residence while separating from no-longer-needed items, angry outbursts between family members can be avoided. In addition, this can help elderly adults with cognitive deficits to be less likely to forget the location of certain items (i.e., sheets and towels kept on specific shelves in a closet).
While an Internet search and results of your own phone calls can provide much information on different types of residential settings, having a professional to provide senior relocation support and guidance to you cannot be underestimated. Consider scheduling a consultation with a senior placement professional (or senior referral agent) to learn how that person might help you in finding a new residential abode to meet your needs!