Aging In Place Means Planning

At Support For Home, we provide home care to people who need help with Activities of Daily Living.  That is the focus of our Advance Living Directive(TM), that we have written about in previous blogs.  But home care services are only a part of the “solution” that we need to have in place as we age in place.

Part of that solution involves focusing on where we live.  Below is a guest blog from one of our colleagues at Compassionate Relocations, about that topic.  Alison Hirsch is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist and Interior Designer with Paul Fichtner’s organization.

In order to “Age In Place” in the true sense of the phrase, prior proper planning is a must.  Very few seniors are capable of making the necessary changes and modifications to Age In Place after a life-altering medical situation has arisen.  To Age In Place properly and effectively, an in-home analysis should be conducted by a team of experts working collaboratively.  From a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, contractor, to an interior designer, this team should assess the current needs of the residents as well as the need for potential modifications down the road.

If the current residence is not adaptable for the needs of the residents (e.g., Master Bedroom is upstairs, remodel of bathroom is too extensive or financially not feasible, etc.), it is possible that the homeowners should consider a move to a home where these changes have already been made, or could be made more easily.  There’s no doubt that moving can be a difficult event for anyone, but for a senior those difficulties can prove to be more serious.   A move for seniors usually involves downsizing which means potentially parting with a lifetime of possessions.  From a physical standpoint, seniors are generally unable to participate in the heavy lifting or furniture moving.  Elders and their families need to be able to rely on a service company that understands the nuances and challenges of the senior transition.

Unfortunately, sometimes planning in advance is no longer an option and the current situation requires some immediate relocation or reorganization assistance.  Look for a member of the Senior Transition Society Council and the National Association of Senior Move Managers who will sit down with the senior and family members to find out just how much help the senior is going to need.  The list of services can range from packing, donating, debris removal to home preparation for sale, and shipments.  Furniture moving, unpacking, space planning and arrangement of personal items are some other services that are helpful on Move In Day.   Some seniors have family members nearby who have time to help while others need more services from the service agency.  Each senior’s situation is different, so make sure the company you talk to will create a move plan unique to that situation.

The company’s goal and mission should be to provide a single point of contact for each stage of the transition process, eliminating as much stress as possible to the senior and family.  Many times, family members are faced with making important decisions on the behalf of their loved one and the additional stress of the move can cause anxiety in those trying to help.

The family and the agency need to understand the emotional impact on seniors who are making a later in life move.  Many feel uneasy about the impending transition and what it will mean for their independence, their day-to-day activities and this can lead to a potentially serious depression. 

Like Paul, we are committed to helping elders age in place.  However, if that is no longer an option in a senior’s current residence, a company like Compassionate Relocations, in the Sacramento region or other, similar  companies elsewhere can offer the relief from the overwhelming task of downsizing, estate clearing, and moving.

Best wishes, Bert


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