(Article Written by Sharon Wagner)
A senior living with age-related health challenges often requires more and more help as they get older. For many seniors, family members provide much of this assistance. AgingCare reports that 41.8 million Americans provide care to aging family members, whether it be a parent, sibling, spouse, or another relative.
Many of these family caregivers live miles away from their care recipients. Because caregiving from a distance presents additional problems and challenges, long-distance caregivers often consider moving to be closer to their senior loved ones. Would this be a good move for you and your family? Uprooting your life to care for a loved one is a big commitment! We’re here to help you evaluate your options and navigate this challenging decision.
Does Moving Make Sense for You?
First and foremost, make sure moving makes sense for you and your family. Will you be able to re-establish your life after your move? Think about how the move will disrupt your family’s life. You and your spouse may need to find new jobs, your kids will need to enroll in a new school, and unless you plan to move in with your senior loved one, you will need to find a new place to live. Selling your home and buying a new one can be a long and stressful process. Are you up for this major change?
It’s also important to consider the state of the housing market before deciding to move. Does it make sense to sell your home right now? Do you have enough equity in the home for a down payment on a new place? If you need to sell your home and free up cash quickly, consider selling your home to Summit Home Buyers. This is the fastest and easiest way to sell your home, eliminating the need for repairs, MLS listing, showings, and real estate commissions.
Are You Moving for the Right Reasons?
This question can be difficult to confront, but it’s important to think about why you think you should move closer to your loved one. Moving to provide direct care is one thing. If, on the other hand, you’re moving because you feel guilty about living so far away, you may be better off staying put. Moving will not resolve your guilt. Regardless of where you live or how much direct care you can provide to your loved one, there’s a good chance you’ll still feel guilty that you’re not doing enough. Learn how to acknowledge and cope with caregiver guilt instead of uprooting your life to resolve it.
Supporting Your Loved One from Afar
If you decide to stay put, there are a number of ways you can support your loved one from a distance. Building a team of trusted friends, family members, and professionals who can provide support to your loved one will offer some peace of mind. Reach out to relatives who live near your loved one and see if they can offer care support in any way. Get in touch with your loved one’s neighbors and give them your contact information so they can call you if they notice anything of concern.
You may also want to hire a few professionals to provide direct care and household help to your senior loved one. If you have the budget for it, consider hiring an in-home caregiver. Remember to hire people to help maintain the home as well. Hire professional service providers to clean your loved one’s home, maintain the landscaping, and tackle routine maintenance tasks. For example, your loved one will need to have their gutters cleaned twice a year. Gutter professionals will come prepared with the tools and experience needed to complete cleanings effectively and monitor gutters for potential issues. According to ANGI, the cost to clean my gutters near me ranges from $106 to $167.
Should Your Loved One Be Living Alone?
Whether or not you decide to move closer to your loved one, keep an eye out for signs that your loved one shouldn’t be living alone. Some common red flags include personal hygiene issues, frequent falls, forgetfulness, confusion, and weight loss. Of course, it can be harder to spot these signs from a distance. Use technology to keep an eye on your loved one and check in on their wellbeing. For example, you can install activity sensors around your loved one’s home or have them wear an SOS device so you will be alerted in the event of a fall or other emergency event.
Moving a Senior Loved One into Your Home
If you determine that your loved one isn’t safe living at home alone, you have a few options. One option is to have them move into your home. This might eliminate the need to uproot your family and move. But as with moving closer to your senior loved one, settling them into your own home requires a great deal of consideration. AARP suggests thinking about how this move will impact your family routine and household expenses. Also, remember to ask your loved one what they think about the move. Moving in with you means leaving behind their community, friends, and the activities they enjoy.
Other Senior Living Options
Moving your senior loved one into your home isn’t their only living option. If they want their own space or would prefer to remain in their community, independent living or assisted living might be viable options. In an independent living community, your loved one would live in a maintenance-free apartment or condo and have access to community services. Assisted living provides a higher degree of help with daily living tasks, like housekeeping, laundry, bathing, and dressing. If your loved one requires skilled medical care, a nursing home might be your best bet.
Moving to care for a senior loved one isn’t a realistic option for everyone. If it doesn’t make sense for your family, don’t force it. Take advantage of professional services, assisted living options, and remote monitoring technology to ease your burden and ensure your loved one gets the care they need.