The next three relocation resistors are some of the most emotional for older adults and for their family. The concerns become ‘verbal bombs’ that are dropped, quickly spreading damage and few of us have the where-with-all to deal with them. Unfortunately ignoring the issues won’t make them go away.
- I want to die in my own home. It’s the proverbial – “I’ll only leave here in a pine box” exclamation. This requires ‘reading between the lines’. Often the concern is less about remaining in the current home and more about the fear of being ‘locked up’ in an acute care hospital or a nursing home facility. Discuss housing options as a continuum with many options between private homes and nursing homes. Clarify with the adult the features in their current living environment that are most important such as access to friends, stores, other amenities, personal privacy, access to personal items or safety. Then begin discovering together the various living options that could fulfill many of these must-haves. Remind them that none of our living environments remain the same at any age because change happens all around us. It’s best to remain in control of the options rather than delay a decision and have a crisis dictate the choices.
- Moving seems like the ‘end’. Moving is an end for most of us. Even if we aren’t moving for health reasons, a move may mean the end of a stage of life, a job, or even a relationship. When an older adult mentions an ‘end’ they often are referring to a health decline that continues until their death. This is unfortunate because a move at a later stage in life, before a crisis, can be an opportunity for the older adult to focus exclusively on their living needs and wishes. It can be a positive move that includes improvements in physical and mental health. Renting can be a great option to get to experience other styles of housing. This type of approach makes the move a ‘beginning’ that is accompanied by optimism and excitement.
- I’m saving the house for my kids. Estate planning should not be mixed into discussing about housing options. Unfortunately a long-term family home can become a huge emotional issue when its sale is possible. It may be a surprise to some family members that one of them has expressed an interest in purchasing the home – but at this time they don’t have enough money. The issue may also arise because the older adult thinks that the home’s increasing value will result in a larger estate for their children. This is an unnecessary burden on the older adult. Help them make their current and future living decisions separate from the financial wishes of other family members.
No one should pressure an adult to move but the adult will need support when making this life-changing decisions. Families will often disagree about the best option for mom or dad but need to keep their dissent private so the decision-making remains focused on the older adults’ needs and wishes.
More on this relocation series are at:
Part 1: http://agenomics.ca/2014/01/reasons-older-adults-resist-relocation-part-1/
Part 2: http://agenomics.ca/2014/02/more-reasons-older-adults-resist-moving-part-2/