Q: Should we stay or should we go? My wife and I have been trying to decide if we should move to a retirement community. We have a lovely home on the lake, and would hate to leave it. What do you think?
A: Moving is a very personal decision and much of it has to do what resources you have access to as you age. Those resources include family support, social networks, financial resources and other community support services that will enable your needs to be met as they may change or increase over the years.
Now is a great time to start planning and looking at your options. I would suggest you identify possible communities that you would be interested in and schedule lunch or a tour of the property. Ask about the different levels of care they provide and the payment options available. Some communities have a buy in or community fee; while others offer a month-to-month lease program. Also keep in mind that you and your partner may age differently. So ask what will happen if you end up having different needs and one of you needs increased support. If you have adult children who live in another town, would you consider moving closer to them? If yes, you should also gather information on those communities. Keep in mind that many may start with independent living, so moving in while you can enjoy all the amenities will give you a bigger bang for your buck.
At Home Care in Greensboro and Throughout North Carolina
If you decide that a retirement community is not for you and you opt to go with at home care, you have some homework to do as well. What services will be available to come into your home? These may include a care manager to assess needs, home care, private caregivers, assistance with mail and bills, help with medications, someone to help with the yard, housework, meals, transportation and eventually personal care. What will these cost you? Are there adaptations that need to be made to the home to increase safety? These may include grab bars, alert system, ramp and other equipment. You will also want to think about social interaction. How will you continue to get social, physical and mental exercise to continue to function at your best?
As you can imagine just about any service can be brought into the home, including physician and hospice services, but you need to make sure that you know what these resources are and consider the cost. Many of these expenses will be out of pocket and not covered by insurance. You will need to do some legal (power of attorney, living will, health care agent) and financial planning (estate, monthly budget & long term projections) to ensure that the option you select is going to be a realistic option for you. Also consider a plan B. What if something happens to one of you? Does that change the plan? Do you have pets that need to be considered in the planning?
It is never too early to start planning and considering options. Be proactive so that you do not wait for a crisis to occur to start making some of these decisions. One of the best gifts you can give you family and loved ones is a plan for your future. Consider talking with an Aging Life Care ™ Professional in your area to get help addressing all of these questions www.AgingLifeCare.org or contact us for a free planning guide info@AgingOutreachServices.com
Amy Natt, an Aging Life Care™ Professional, certified senior advisor, and president and CEO of Aging Outreach Services, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.