As I said in the last blog (Part 2), 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 the answer.
I keep a mental list of the reasons why my Aunt will be better off living someplace else. This way, if and when she gives me an opportunity to talk about this sensitive subject with her, I will be ready to discuss the topic from a more logical perspective and give her less of a reason to shut me down.
If you are in the same situation with your aging parent, and they are reluctant to move, be prepared just in case 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, the mistake family members make is one of getting emotional and worse yet, angry. Stay cool. Stick to the facts.
Make a list of why your elder needs to move. Watch your communication style. 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. Perhaps my list below will be helpful to you.
Here are the main reasons why my Aunt will eventually be moving out of her house (whether she realizes it or not):
- 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. The mobility issue alone will eventually wear her down.
- Finances. The house is falling apart and has been draining her savings for the past 15 years. I remind her that she will never get her money back. Also, there’s snow to shovel, lawn to mow, and trees to trim. She can’t afford to hire people to do this work.
- Environment. The house is not senior-friendly. Laundry room in the basement and stairs to negotiate (she has already slipped 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.