When It Is NOT Time to Age in Place – How to Know & What to Do About It

Home sweet home is where most of us hope to live the rest of our lives.

That’s especially true for our senior loved ones, many of whom are fortunate to be living at home longer and longer.

Seniors are finding many solutions that will help them stay in the home of their choice, including home health services, technology devices and home modifications.

Managing chronic conditions and staying healthy and fit is also optimizing the time seniors can live the lifestyle of aging in place.

Unfortunately, staying home and remaining safe in that home may not be possible for some seniors, who may begin to require more assistance than is available or that they can afford forcing lifestyle changes to keep them safe.

Is Aging in Place Working for Your Senior?

To determine if continuing to stay at home is still the best choice, family caregivers need to consider financial health, medical health, emotional health, and physical health of your senior loved one.

Despite everyone’s desire to age in place, other considerations may change the course of a senior’s living situation that will benefit them on many levels.

Have you wondered:

  • Are they still independent enough to remain safe in their own home?
  • Can you still provide the supportive care you have in the past?
  • Will their finances be able to pay for their needs?

Being honest in your assessment of these questions may be tough but is needed.

Questions to Consider When Deciding If a Move Would be Best

Those were just a few questions to consider when you and your senior are trying to decide if the time may be coming (or already here) when your senior loved should no longer age in place in their home but may need to transition to another living arrangement.

Some of the following questions to help you all determine which option is best are more specific that require careful consideration and perhaps some observations on your part:

  • Are there still people and services available to meet the needs of your senior?
  • Do they need around the clock care?
  • Is there a helper taking them to doctor’s appointments?
  • Is there a homemaker who can do the housecleaning, laundry and chores that are needed in and around the home to keep it safe?
  • Can they get the food they need and then prepare it?
  • Are they capable of knowing the difference between good food and spoiled food?
  • Are they eating adequately or skipping meals and fluids?
  • Are they losing weight?
  • Can they still take their medications without supervision?
  • Do they need more help doing tasks of grooming like showering, toileting, shaving, or eating?
  • Are they isolated, lonely or bored?
  • Are they safe to continue driving?
  • Do they wander outside or get lost?
  • Are there more hazards in the home than you can control?
  • Is the home well maintained or does it pose a safety hazard?
  • Do they have a pet for whom they can no longer care?
  • Are you worried about them starting a fire?
  • Can they still handle their own finances?
  • Will their current finances support continued aging in place needs or is their nest egg running out?
  • Are they able to call someone for help? What will they do in an emergency?
  • Can the home be modified in order to better accommodate them or is that not financially feasible?
  • Is there accessible healthcare?
  • Does their current home have a climate that allows them to live comfortably or will the utility bills needed to make them comfortable break the bank?
  • Have they had episodes such as increased falls or injuries from falls, more medical problems, new wounds, or hospitalizations?
  • Can you or your family no longer take care of their needs properly due to time, physical ability, finances or distance?

Yes, there are a lot of questions to consider, but it is a big decision for both senior and family caregivers and you want to consider all the relevant factors.

Reassessing Plans

Just because your senior’s plan to stay in their home has been working, that doesn’t mean it will keep working in the future.

You and your senior loved one should continually reassess whether they are still safe in their home or if it is time to consider alternate living arrangements that would better meet everyone’s needs.

Having a Plan B at the ready, including visiting local assisted living facilities will be worth the time spent.

If something should happen to cause them to need a different place to live quickly, you might be forced into making a decision that doesn’t work well for your senior loved one and that you may both regret.

Taking time to talk with other seniors, friends, healthcare professionals and others in the community will help you make informed decisions about which type of place is best for your senior and one where they may already have friends.

Making the Tough Decision to Move

This is a tough decision for you and your senior to make, no one wants to give up their beloved home. It can be even harder if you promised them you wouldn’t ask them to leave their home.

Sometimes their health and safety will leave you no choice and the guilt can be overwhelming.

Working together, talking about expectations, being honest about the amount of care you can provide to your senior and analyzing their budget will help your senior’s transition move more smoothly.

If your senior transitions from home to assisted living, you both may be surprised at the positive outcome. Many seniors enjoy the camaraderie of their peers, the relief from the burden of cooking, cleaning or yard maintenance. There are activities, outings and new friends to keep them from being bored or lonely.

You might also get some time back in your life to care for yourself!

Tell us your experiences that we can share with others in the same situation.