We have worked with over 3200 seniors and their families and we are constantly dealing with the fact that most seniors DO NOT WANT TO LEAVE THEIR HOMES. This is because previous generations felt they were leaving their homes to go to a nursing home to die. Many seniors still feel this way, even when they are moving to a luxurious retirement residence with lots of amenities. “They are finally getting rid of me!” “Now they can get on with their lives and not have to worry about me,” are comments we often hear. They are frightened, in fact, terrified might be a better word!
When we started our company in 1996, most people lived in a retirement residence for about 10 years. Now the turnover is much faster. People are now moving at an older age and so they have more health problems. With proper nutrition, med supervision and the stimulation of people their lives can improve. Many seniors have actually waited too long to move and the quality of life they could have had, with support systems in place, has slipped by them. Two clients we saw today are good examples of this.
Although most seniors want to stay in their homes, many can not afford to any longer. Many seniors are on fixed incomes while taxes, living expenses and costs for needed services are constantly on the rise. Some seniors have a lot of money tied up in their residence, yet struggle to come up with the money for daily necessities. They don’t have the money needed for maintenance and repairs and we have seen people struggling just to put food on the table.
Are stairs fast becoming “public enemy # 1?” Is the cost of installing a chair lift beyond your budget? We often visit senior clients in two story homes with only one bathroom. Some put a commode on one level but others are horrified at the thought. Some even change a ground floor dining room into a bedroom where the stairs have become a problem. We have seen too many seniors have serious falls while trying to carry items up or down the stairs. (Judy was one of them, carrying a steamer trunk down the stairs for a client ! According to the doctor it was actually life threatening.)
Has the neighborhood changed and is security now an issue? Many people have installed security systems and cameras in their homes, but are still afraid to walk in their neighborhood. If they have no one to take them out, they can become a prisoner in their own home.
Is the bathroom becoming difficult to use? If money is available, converting a standard bathtub to a walk-in-tub may be an option. Many seniors install raised toilets or toilet seats and grab bars. Some go to the expense of making the doorway wider. Although expensive, a sliding pocket door would ensure that help could easily get in to assist someone who has fallen, as well as create more room.
Is help needed for meal preparation, laundry, housework, yard work, bathing, “meds” supervision, transportation, shopping, bathing, or dressing?
Are your children putting pressure on you to move? Are they stressed out with jobs, family and “trying” to be a good offspring? Are they planning to spend much of the winter “down south” and just knowing that you are safe would enable them to enjoy their holiday more? Often we see one child taking on the responsibility for the care giving and resentment towards other family members can build up – especially when there is an emergency and they arrive and try to take over!
Each person is different. Choose and use what applies to you. As always, out aim is to get you thinking so you can make informed decisions.