How to Help a Senior Search for Housing
Searching for housing at any age is both fun and stressful. Add in that you are also trying to think about the care and medical support you need. The stress can cause a family to be on edge. When a senior is searching for housing for a senior, the family’s own expectations about how it will go and what the senior needs may not align with reality. Many are inaccurate in what they are searching for when it comes to housing for the senior. So, what can you do to help out and get good results? I am so glad you asked, because this is where my expertise as a nurse and care manager and placement navigator come into play with good results.
- Perspective – First of all your senior once was young and active and didn’t need your help. They have quirks and things they like to do that you do not. This is okay. Many family members try to place their loved one in a location or building that they themselves would choose. Or the family member picks a location where they want the individual to “get involved”. As we age our world gets smaller and our desires can change. While some people thrive in a more active community, active communities are not for everyone. Bear that in mind when considering options for your family member. May I also suggest getting a specialist such as myself involved. Referral agents are experts at helping seniors find placement because they do this every day. They can help you along this path of change and decision making.
- Address Concerns – Ask your senior what concerns them. It is as easy as that. Are they afraid of the strangers? Are they afraid of being alone? Are they afraid of not being able to be alone due to all of the activities?
- Address Fears – If your senior is grumpy about this decision to move for care needs find out the root of the problem. Many times it boils down to the fear of the unknown. Even when someone wants to change or get help they are comfortable where they currently are and so bad is better than change sometimes. When dealing with moving a senior addressing their concerns, fears and challenges around moving can eliminate the barriers. Without the barriers change is so much more acceptable.
- Provide Real Support – As we age decision making is just not as easy. There is a lot more to factor in and many seniors get information overload impeding the actual decision to move. As a family member support is being literally along for the ride. Ask the questions they have, write them down and then review them together later.
- Provide the Gentle Push – When a decision is made there is a lot that needs to happen. Help the senior with paperwork, move planning (house sell, packing, estate sale), check-in. This is a major change and even for the better they really need you.