In September, we are looking toward fall, kids returning to school, and pulling out our sweaters and warm coats again. This also can be a time to evaluate if the house that will soon be closed to the cold is really where we want to be. I recently attended an on-line seminar that was about change, and that perfectly fit the ElderMove Alliance thinking on planning ahead and being proactive in your choices. In this article I will share some of what I heard. You’ll find information about a book by the speaker at the seminar at the end of this article.
Let’s start with the best time to make a change. It’s much better to change things when you are healthy, when you are not making decisions because you have to. Once you are in a crisis, you may have to choose the easy, quick option, not the best option. You may have to accept someone else’s idea of what is best for you. If you make a change when you are well, you can make your own decisions, and take your time.
Why should you make a change? 70% of physical aging, and 50% of mental aging are due to lifestyle choices. If you put yourself into a place where you have mental and physical challenges, you will stay mentally and physically healthier for longer. That is a goal for many of us. Is your current home offering you meaningful things to do, people to do them with, and ways to stay mentally and physically alert and alive?
If you are thinking that you might need to move, what is pushing you to make a change? Do you have health concerns, or are you not eating as well as you’d like? Are you still able to care for your home and yard the way you once did? Do you have friends nearby who you can visit whenever you want? Now, what is holding you back from making your change? There could be many answers, but fear is a common issue. If you think that is your issue, what do you fear? The unknown? Losing your independence? Simply change? Running out of money? Or are you afraid that you are not caring for your spouse well enough by yourself, or that you need some help? Fear can keep people from making important decisions and can keep you from improving your situation. Once you know what is holding you up, you can find help to get through the issue.
Often people enjoy their homes for decades, one day at a time. Since things change slowly, it might take some thinking to realize that at some point a home has become a prison, rather than a refuge. It is really telling that so many of the people we help in their moves to senior housing have the same response. “I wish I’d done this sooner! Why did I wait?” When you are in a private space, but you have friends just a few indoor steps away, and you have activities and people to share them with, life can be interesting again. I just spoke to a client whose home sale will close next week, but she is already enjoying her new lifestyle. Her active-senior-housing building is having exercise classes (for quite small groups, due to COVID-19), and she is meeting new friends already. She is looking forward to the pool opening soon, where she will do aquatic exercises.
And she is having fun, even though she just arrived in her building. She had planned to wait another few years, but her financial planner gave her a green light and now she’s enjoying new experiences! You can do that, too.
The promised book info is Be Your Own Hero; Senior Living Decisions Simplified by Catherine L. Owens.
It is available on Amazon.
Do you need to discuss any of this? See the seminar on the back page, “To Move or to Stay”, where we will be covering this exact issue! Or give me a call! I or any ElderMove Alliance member would be happy to help!