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To Move or Not to Move

As you progress into your elderly years, there will inevitably come a time when you require additional help with some or all of your daily living activities.  At such a time in your life, you may be given an invitation to move into the home of one of our adult children.  If you find yourself faced with an invitation for relocation, take your time before you make a final decision.  There are a few important things to consider to ensure that you choose what’s best for you and your family.

The Relationship

Do you and your son or daughter get along?  Do you feel as though living in his or her home would be a positive experience or a negative one?  Make sure you can envision a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle for yourself.  If you can’t imagine it now, chances are it won’t happen after you move in.

The Situation

What are your needs and expectations? 
Physical:  Think of your level of independence.  Will you be depending on your family for a significant amount of care and support?  If so, are they willing and able to provide it?
Social:  In your current residential area, do you have social activities or group gatherings that you attend?  Is your family’s place far away from where you live now?  If you uproot yourself, will the move be too dramatic or require too much of an adjustment on your part?  If your friends and social connections are important to you, think about whether or not you can commute or if it will be possible for your friends to visit you in your new home.
Medical:  Will you need to find a new family doctor?  If you have a condition and it worsens, will you be able to get the additional medical help you need close by?  Look into community support services, hospitals, and doctors’ offices in the neighborhood.
Geographic:  Find out about your proximity to local grocery stores, convenience stores, post offices, seniors’ fitness centers, recreational activities, and social events for older adults.  The easier it is for you to get to the places you want to go, the more independence you’ll be able to preserve in your new home.
Space:  Is there enough room for you to live in your family’s house?  Make sure the headquarters won’t be too tight since this can be a perfect recipe for disaster.  When space is too limited, it becomes impossible for family members to have time to themselves, which can cause unnecessary tension.  Make sure you’re confident that all of you can maintain a peaceful living situation.

Making a Decision

Finally, explore other options.  If you’d prefer to stay at home but you are unable to handle all of your household responsibilities, look into senior home care, live-in caregivers, cleaning services, meal delivery or grocery delivery.  Or, perhaps there is an affordable living option in a local retirement home or assisted living facility.
Once you are sure about moving in with your son or daughter, suggest a trial period with your family.  Try it out for five to six months with a firm agreement that if issues are too grave to overcome, an alternative living arrangement will be determined.
Remember that this is a big move and a serious decision.  Each of your daily living activities will be greatly altered so it’s important that everyone involved is given a fair chance to adjust.
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