To stay or not to stay...that is the question
Our homes are special places to us, places that we have lived, loved, laughed and cried in, places full of memories both sweet and bittersweet.
Thus, making the choice to move from this home to a new one doesn't come easily, no matter how many times you have moved in the past. It requires time, energy and money. But perhaps your home is too large, too expensive, or too hard to maintain right now. Perhaps you've been dreaming of a new city, moving closer to family or to a more exotic location.
Location & Accessibility
You will want to consider housing where both your current and future needs can be met. Even if family members can commit to caregiving, they might not be able to fill in all the gaps if physical and medical needs become extreme. The more thought you put into your future, the better chance your needs will be met.
Even if you are completely independent at this time, circumstances can change. It pays to think a little about your current location and accessibility of your current home. For example, how far is your home from shopping, medical facilities, or other services? If you can no longer drive, what kind of transportation access will you have? Can your home be easily modified? Does it have a lot of steps or a steep hill to navigate? Do you have a large yard that needs to be maintained?
Level of Care
No one can predict the future. However, if you or a loved one has a chronic medical condition that is expected to worsen over time, it’s especially important to think about how you will handle health and mobility problems. What are common complications of your condition, and how will you handle them? Are you already at the point where you need daily help?
Making a budget with anticipated expenses can help you weigh the pros and cons of your situation. Senior housing options like assisted living can be expensive, but extensive in-home help can also rapidly mount in cost, especially at higher levels of care and live-in or 24-hour coverage. You may be able to purchase insurance to offset some of the costs of long-term care. In the U.S., the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides some housing options for seniors under a certain income limit, while Medicaid covers the bulk of nursing home care for those with limited income and assets.
How easy is it for you to visit friends, neighbors, or engage in hobbies that you enjoy? If it becomes difficult or impossible for you to leave your home, you’ll become isolated and depression can rapidly set in.