Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Monday, April 16, 2007

Elderly Move to be Near Families

USA Today reports that an increasing number of seniors are moving to be closer to their boomer children and grandchildren. The new migration of seniors is usually compelled by medical problems to leave their longtime surroundings to live near their adult children. Such a move can be even more emotionally and logistically complex than those facing a teenager decamping for college.

“For the elderly, uprooting can bring on depression, the result of everything from the challenges of navigating a new town to an uncomfortable level of dependence on their offspring. For the boomers who are their children, they face redefining relationships with parents and struggling with added financial and emotional responsibilities.”

The article continues, “Moving is one of life's greater stresses, even more so when a senior faces the prospect of uprooting from familiar turf to an unknown town. Andrea Cohen of HouseWorks, which helps the elderly live independently, offers advice on the transition:

Adult children should

Broach the subject sooner rather than later. "Ask your parents what their preferences would be if it ever got too difficult for them to stay in their home," Cohen says.

Expect resistance. Though moving closer to you "might seem logical, it might take them a while to accept that."

Make a detailed plan. "It's an enormous job," with tasks that can include selling a house, planning an estate sale and rounding up medical records. "Give yourself as much time as possible."

Ask tough questions. "Whether it's figuring out how long your parents' money will last or how to help them without losing your job or neglecting your children, be realistic about the challenges ahead."

Seniors should

Envision the future. From the details of your new home to the kind of community you want to be in, it's crucial to give shape to your desires before you move.

Visit the targeted town. Check out everything from grocery stores to health care providers. "The more you know, the easier it will be when you start living there."

Be selective with possessions. "Get help with the sorting process or you'll wind up taking too much" to your new home, which probably will be smaller.

Think positive. "Shift your thinking away from what you're leaving behind, and toward this new phase of life where you can continue to learn and grow."

As I look toward the rapidly advancing possibility of needing to move my mom to a safer location and at the same time wanting to move to be nearer our son, these are good thought stimulants.

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