You and your aging parent have started talking about the possibility of moving from home. But when is a good time?
Here are some choices:
1. Don't move at all. Approximately 92% of today's seniors say they never want to leave their home. They have their stuff, their schedule, their neighborhood. Home care works well for many, if their needs can be scheduled, such as a shower at 10 am and meal preparation beginning at 11:30 am. Home care costs roughly $30 an hour for a four-hour shift. As care needs rise, so do the costs (home care in the Seattle area runs about $325 for a 24-hour shift.) At some point, usually 6-8 hours of care a day, staying at home becomes more expensive than moving to assisted living or an adult family home. For some people, the cost is worth the comfort and the security of one on one care. If an elder has dementia, however, home care may not be safe unless there is a caregiver in the home all day or possibly 24/7.
2. Move earlier while in good health. A certain segment of the senior population moves to a simpler lifestyle in a retirement community while they can still enjoy the activities, trips and socialization, knowing that help is available as their needs change.
3. Move for the sake of a caregiver spouse. Caregiving causes stress to soar. Often a caregiving spouse blossoms when the couple moves to a retirement community or when the ill spouse is placed in care. The caregiver spouse can now get away for activities and fellowship with others. Their domestic duties are fewer now, as are their responsibilities for their spouse's care. The well spouse drops the caregiver role, allowing him or her to focus on the relationship.
4. Move following a medical emergency, such as a hospitalization, or because a physician says 24-hour care is needed.
There's no magical time, but circumstances and key people in one's life will help them tell whether the time is right.