As I said in the last blog (Part 1), it is not my personal philosophy that everyone eventually has to move out of their house. Hiring in-home helpers and asking family and friends to pitch in are certainly options to be considered. However, in the case of my Aunt, bringing help in is not realistic nor is it the answer. For one thing, a recent diagnosis of several chronic illnesses makes it impossible for her to negotiate the stairs. Forgetfulness is also increasing.
If you are in the same situation (an elder who refuses to move), follow these action plans.
Start by making a written list of reasons why your elder needs to move. This list is for you as a reminder as to why you are having these relocation conversations in the first place.
Write down specifics. What are the hard-core facts as to why you think your elder needs to move? In this process you are establishing evidence to back up any conversations the two of you have about moving. When you see an opportunity to open up the dialogue, the goal is for you to be specific and realistic when talking about the move. Too many times, we caregivers get overly emotional (understandably) and worse yet, angry. Stay cool. Stick to the facts.
Watch your communication style. If you are conducting these conversations in person, have a glass of water in your hand and take a sip when you feel like you’re going to explode and say something you will regret in the moment.
To jump-start your list process, here are the main reasons why my Aunt will have to eventually move out of her house (whether she realizes it or not). Perhaps my list will be helpful to you:
- Location. My Aunt lives in the suburbs. She has to drive several miles to the grocery store, doctor appointments and everywhere else. There is no public transportation. There are no sidewalks. There are no on-demand transportation services in the area.
- Finances. The house is falling apart and has been draining her savings for the past 15 years. Also, there’s snow to shovel, lawn to mow, and trees to trim. She can’t afford to hire people to do this work, let alone manage the workers who are coming to her house when she is home alone.
- Environment. The house is not older-adult friendly. Laundry room in the basement and stairs to negotiate (she continuously slips on the stairs).
- Health. My Aunt is experiencing a series of chronic illnesses. Who will be close by to care for her if she needs in-home care? She is a widow. Her sons have both moved away. Her inner circle of friends have died and/or left the neighborhood to be closer to their children.
To be continued…