Elder Care in Your Future

by Francy Dickinson

Dear Francy: My parents moved to the beach six years ago. It was so much fun for them to be free of the city and have the easy beach atmosphere at there fingertips. Now, they have health concerns and the travel to the nearest town is not close, got suggestions?

Boy is this a difficult topic. You live all your life for retirement and make the “big move” and then a few years later reality starts to settle in and it is often not pleasant. I have family that moved to a small town that they just loved. They bought a small cabin just for two and it was perfect, until their health concerns took a down turn and the weather, distance and cabin itself are now concerns.

If the move has been made here are a few choices. They can keep the beach or retirement home just as it is and buy or rent a small place in the city. Hopefully, close by you so they can receive their health treatments or simply come in when the weather is bad. One of their children could give them a room or a part of the house to stay in on a “visiting only” basis so very little money has to be spent. That way they still have their special place and privacy, but have a haven when they need it. This will promote any extra worry and keep them calm and yet start to move them back into the city in small doses so if they find they are alone, or too unwell to be on their own…the move is easier.

Lots of families find that their one time summer or second home turns into the retirement home. That is such a terrific idea…but being practical about aging and what can happen in years to come has to be a part of the picture. So to keep someone safe while they are living more than a close drive away take down some of these suggestions.

Make sure the house is senior proof while the couple is young. Before they need it, add those extra bars in the bathroom, the hand held shower head (low flow). Make sure the stairs to the house are easy to climb, better yet, “no stairs”, or have a power lift put on the wall to assist them in years to come. Get a bed that supports older backs and is easy to climb out of in the middle of the night. Make sure their kitchen table and chairs are easy to use and comfortable as well as their TV viewing chairs. Lazy-boy style chairs may be the best for some, but weakened arms make the hand held release hard to work. Think about how high the cupboards are in the kitchen and if all the appliances are easy to use and will save money on utilities as their income gets strained. Remember to have a landscape that is easy care, or part of the monthly upkeep. Check the roof, a twenty year roof is great until you live 25 years and it has to be replaced with a limited bank account. The open room concept is a great one until you have to heat it, check out the heat exchange and be aware of rising prices of heating in years to come.

Driving may not always be something that seniors can count on, so is there transportation close? Exercise keeps all of us moving even into our 80’s & 90’s – is there a gym or exercise room close by? If they are going to be in a summer area in winter, will they be safe? Protection is key when living into your later years so make sure it’s a part of the plan. What about phone or emergency life line services? Get a plan, keep the cell phones on their person at all times – then any fall or health problem can be solved with a text or cell call.

There are way to many tips to give in a blog, so I did an e-Book for you to enjoy. Just go on over to my web site and get the information www.seniorcarewithspirit.com– Thank you for reading and send me your questions. Blessings, francy

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