Knowing it’s Time: Moving

By Marie Gress, LLMSW – Director of Operations at Milan Seniors for Healthy Living

Many seniors downsize to a smaller house or condo when their previous home becomes too much for them to maintain, but it’s the next move that is difficult for families to navigate. MSHL believes in “aging in place” for as long as it is safe for a senior to do so, but sometimes it isn’t safe. Here are some signs to know it’s time to start the conversation about assisted living:
Behavior changes. Have they been seeing their friends significantly less? Have they abandoned hobbies and activities? Do they leave the house anymore? Do they consistently forget to close the garage door? Do they wander away from home and can’t figure out how to get back? Dangerous driving concerns? Letting food go bad and stay in the fridge? Have they been becoming aggressive?
Ability to recover. Did their cold become untreated bronchitis? Is their COPD or congestive heart failure worsened to the point it is too much for you to handle? Or are you frequently calling 911 because of their health? Have they been losing lots of weight, gaining lots of weight, seem frailer, or other significant changes in appearance flagging a change in health?
Money signs. Unopened bills. Letters from banks, creditors, or insurers about overdue payments or overdrawn balances. Mail scattered around the house could means bills scattered around the house. Are they repeatedly falling for scammers?
Home-maintenance signs. Indoor plants struggling to survive when they used to be vibrant? Pets taken care of okay, or are you concerned about them too? Have the windows, fences, and leaks been taken care of? Are there newspapers in the yard and a piled-up mail box?
I always say follow your gut. If your gut thinks something is wrong, it warrants checking out. Ask your loved one’s neighbor, longtime friend, or doctor(s). Ask your loved one, because if you are seeing something, they might be starting to notice a need for change as well.
For suggestions on how to approach this conversation, many of the principles from February’s “Giving up the Keys” article apply. The article is available on our website, as are other articles. Always feel free to call Milan Seniors for Healthy Living for other questions 734.508.6229 or email mshl [at] milanseniors [dot] org.

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