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A Change in Living Arrangements?
Source: The Care Guide
Determining whether or not an elderly loved one may require a change in living arrangements can be difficult for a variety of reasons. The following is list of signs or indicators that a change in living arrangements of an elderly loved one might be appropriate.
- Less active lifestyle and tendency to stay at home
- Exterior of home is less well maintained than historically
- Change in communication quality or frequency
- Fewer invites to their home or a change in visit patterns
- Unopened bills and other mail
- Unkempt home and laundry or dishes piling up
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blackened pots or other damage to environment
- Bruises or other signs of trauma from falls or difficulty navigating around the house
- If you’re experiencing concern for their well-being, they probably need some help
Talking to family about seniors’ housing can be a sensitive topic. This can make it a difficult conversation to broach, given the emotional issues involved. Family members often experience feelings of guilt, anger and sadness, while the elderly loved one may experience loss of autonomy, loss of privacy and feelings of helplessness. How the discussion is handled can make a huge difference to the outcome.
The following is a list of things that the family and the elderly loved one alike should consider when discussing a potential change in living arrangements for an elderly loved one:
- Focus primarily on the individual’s comfort and not the impact on the family.
- Keep emotion out of the process as much as possible. Stick to facts and practicalities.
- Bring a trusted, objective third-party into the discussion to moderate, such as a health care professional, a religious figure or a community care case worker.
- Try not to hold the conversation after some kind of an 'incident' as emotions tend to be high; choose an appropriate time and a neutral location.
- Designate one family member as the 'point person' for the discussions and for follow-up action that needs to be taken.
- Consider short-term, overnight trial-stays at residences of interest as a way to “test the waters”.
- Recognize that residences have changed from those of the past; residences of today are bright and filled with amenities to satisfy your comforts and needs.
- Plan ahead - discussing seniors’ housing options with family members will be much easier if some thought has already been put into it.
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