You may be deciding to move a senior loved one home from an assisted living community due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. Another reason — a family member’s situation has changed, enabling him or her to provide the care and support the senior will need at home. Whatever the reason, when planning the move, there are a number of things to think about.
What Are the Needs?
Consider any chronic illnesses or cognitive challenges the senior is facing. Are the resources to meet these needs available or affordable in a home setting? How much time and assistance can you provide as the caregiver? Also, understand how the illnesses or cognitive challenges will progress, and what may be required of you, as the caregiver, to meet those needs.
What type of home will the senior move into? Has the senior’s home been sold while she or he was in assisted living? Will the senior rent a place or will they be moving in with a family caregiver? Also, if they left assisted living, would they be able to move back?
Regardless, the home must provide a safe environment for the senior. If the senior has problems with balance, are there grab bars in showers? Will they be able to move about the house without climbing stairs? Are there other items that might be a tripping hazard? If the senior uses a wheelchair, are the doorways wide enough to accommodate it?
Is your relationship with the senior a good one, or have there been conflicts in the past? It will be necessary to work through these issues or learn to accept your differences to make a successful transition. For example, does the senior smoke, which is not allowed in your home? Does Mom have a pet that could be a care problem?
Also, consult with your immediate family if you foresee spending a lot of time in the senior’s home or if he or she is coming to live with you, as you need to determine how that will impact your family.
Think about finances as well. What will the senior be able to contribute, and will other family members pitch in to help with costs and some of the care duties and responsibilities? According to the AARP, caregivers spend thousands of dollars per year while supporting a senior loved one.
- Medical needs. Co-payments for doctors, hospitals, prescriptions, and medical equipment.
- Personal care items. Clothing, incontinence supplies, shampoo, soaps, and sometimes pet care.
- Traveling expenses. To and from the senior’s home, including fuel and maintenance costs, as well retrofitting vehicles to accommodate wheelchairs.
Another consideration would be if you or your spouse would have to take time off from employment to provide care or give up a job completely. Studies have shown that many caregivers cut back on vacations, dip into their savings, or reduce spending for their own health.
The Rewards of Moving Home from Assisted Living
While it’s wise to consider and make plans for challenges, there is something to be said for having a loved one live with you. Your children could benefit from having a grandparent in the home. And a senior can contribute his or her experience, knowledge of family history, and life lessons to everyone in the family. It’s also important that children learn about the commitment and responsibility of caring for another person.
Whether or not your senior loved one lives at an assisted living community, additional support may be needed. Learn more about Bethesda’s Care Management program, which can help you and your senior loved one plan for the future and determine a care plan.