Change is a natural part of life and although some people will try to avoid it at all costs, change is inevitable. Even positive changes can be stressful, but stresses are amplified when one views a change as undesirable. Seniors often face a host of undesirable changes as they age: these can include the loss of a spouse, friends, health challenges, or financial concerns, to name a few. Some of these changes may impact one’s ability to live safely and comfortably in one’s home, and might mean that it is time to move. Few people relish the idea of moving at any age, but for seniors, moving represents some different challenges than it does for younger adults. When a younger adult moves, they are typical moving from house A to house B and might be upgrading their lifestyle, sending their kids to a better school etc. Empty nesters might downsize to a simpler lifestyle or add a second home in a warm climate. Although these moves involve some work, stress, and inconvenience, they are generally viewed in a positive light by the people making these changes. For the older senior, however, this is not always the case.
If you are a senior who has lived in your house for 30, 40, 50 or more years, it is hard to leave. These homes are filled with memories and a sense of belonging. Moving from one’s home in these situations means a big change in lifestyle and this can be overwhelming and scary for some people. It is okay to feel a sense of loss and to go through some grieving when one is leaving a home one has loved. It is also important to get on with the next step in one’s life and make a move to a senior community or other situation that will support one’s physical, social, mental, emotional and/or spiritual needs. Seniors can live active, healthy, engaged lives at any age and there are a plethora of living options available to seniors today that were not available to previous generations. The key is to look for what best fits your needs and to make your move while you still have a choice. If you wait until you are in crisis mode and are forced to move from you home, you will have to take what is available at the time, which most likely will not be your preferred choice.
As noted earlier, there are many living options available for seniors today. These include senior communities that offer independent living, assisted living, and memory care; residential care homes, and skilled nursing facilities for those who need high levels of care. Visit the EPPIA website listed at the end of this article for further information on these options. Things for seniors to consider in deciding where to live may include: location, apartment styles, proximity to family and friends, amenities, activities, levels of care available, and cost, to name a few.
Once a decision has been made regarding where to move, the next step to consider is the move itself. Families may often try to help with the move, but depending upon the size of the move, family dynamics, the amount of time required, and other factors, this can create additional stress for the senior and/or the family members. To reduce stress for everyone and facilitate the entire move process from sorting and packing to completely setting up the new home, contact a move management company. Information on these companies is also available on the EPPIA website and most companies offer free, no obligation consultations and cost estimates. Using a move management company enables a senior to get packed, moved, and completely resettled in a matter of days, rather than weeks of being unsettled, which is often the case when moves are performed by family and friends with good intentions but little time or expertise.
Moving is never easy and it is especially difficult for seniors who have their lives and identities invested in their current homes. But at a certain time of life, which varies based on individual circumstances, it becomes necessary to make a change of home and lifestyle. Learn about the options available and make the decision to move while you can choose where and when to move. This sometimes requires a leap of faith!
EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA members meet to learn, exchange information and discuss issues in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA and local senior resources, please visit our website at www.edenprairieaging.org