Aging well requires adapting to change, and planning your future housing and transportation needs is an important part of ensuring that you continue to thrive as you get older. Of course, planning for your future needs requires coming to terms with loss in your level of independence. Understandably, the prospect of losing independence can be overwhelming. But it’s important to remember that most of us over the age of 65 will require some type of supportive care setting. And at some point, we will need to give up driving. Aging well is recognizing when it’s time to ask for help and proactively explore housing and transportation options.
It’s important to communicate with family members your wishes, and listen to their concerns. Your loved ones may offer suggestions about transportation or senior housing options and other ways to make your life easier. Rather than dismissing them, try to keep an open mind and discuss the possibilities. Learn about your options by talking to professional providers. An event scheduled for April 30 at Community Thread offers this opportunity.
Whether your search for senior housing is prompted by a serious medical condition or the desire for a lifestyle change, finding the right place to live can be challenging and stressful for both you and your family. The earlier you realistically assess your current needs and how those needs may evolve over time, the more choices and control you’ll have. When deciding on the senior housing that will work best for you, it’s important to consider both your current and potential future needs:
Physical and medical. As you age, you will probably need some help with activities of daily living such as cleaning, cooking, and help with bathing. You or a loved one may also need increasing help due to acute medical needs, for example after a heart attack, or a more gradual condition such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Transportation. You may no longer be able to continue driving or have access to public transportation in order to attend to your medical needs or to visit with family and friends.
Home maintenance. If you’re living alone, your current home may become too difficult or expensive to maintain. You may have health problems that make it hard to manage tasks such as housework, repairs and yard maintenance, potentially creating an unsafe environment.
Social and emotional. As you age, your social networks may change. Friends or family may not be close by, or neighbors may move or pass on. Some housing situations offer more social opportunities to help you avoid becoming isolated.
Financial. Balancing the care you need with where you want to live requires careful evaluation of your budget.
For adult children with aging parents, exploring housing and transportation options before a crisis happens will help create a situation that is best for everyone involved. Adult children can determine the need to explore options based on these considerations:
– Safety issues. Is your parent able to get around by him or herself? How is their driving?
– Medical issues. Is your parent able to take medications as directed or do they need help and supervision?
– Expenses. Is your parent able to keep up with mortgage and insurance payments, property taxes and the utility expenses associated with owning a home?
– Isolation. Is your parent lonely? Has he or she suffered the loss of a spouse?
– Location. Where is your parent’s home located? Is it in a city or in a secluded location away from town? Is there convenient access to transportation and other services?
– Medical condition. If your parent is showing signs of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, arrangements for adequate care need to be addressed.
When researching a senior housing option, make sure it covers your required level of care and that you understand exactly the facilities offered and the costs involved. The best way to do this is to attend the Senior Housing and Transportation Fair to be held 4-6 p.m. April 30 at Community Thread. Housing and transportation providers will be on hand to explain options and answer questions.
Knowledge is power. Be aware of your options. Do your homework and research the best options available for you and your loved one. By learning about the different types of transportation and senior housing options when you are not under duress, you can make the choice that’s right for you. See you at the fair.
By Sally Anderson