Aging in place, downsizing, rightsizing or transitioning into a Senior Community can be overwhelming. Nearly 85% of seniors report a desire to age in their home. Many are able to do so successfully, but for others, remaining in the home may not be an option. Feelings associated with the task of relocating is often so overwhelming that it will stop many from making the decision until faced with a crisis.
Seniors – age 65 and older- is the largest group “…in terms of size and percent of the population of the U.S. This age group grew at a faster rate than the total population between 2000 and 2010, according to a 2010 Census brief…”. There are currently 40.3 million U.S. citizens over the age of 65.
We are living longer and major life circumstances can quickly change . Decisions seem to present themselves much more swiftly than we are ready for. One thing remains constant, and that is our need to maintain control over our destiny and the power to make decisions for ourself, especially when it involves where we live.
There are 2 reasons why seniors consider moving into a Senior Community:
Push Factors: Such as….ready to relax and enjoy an easier life. The house is too much to maintain and a lower maintenance living is welcomed. Being surrounded by neighbors and a social group comprised of individuals with similar interests and hobbies is desired.
Pull Factors: Such as….death of a partner. Chronic illness of a partner or self such as asthma, diabetes, hypertension, bronchitis or emphysema to name a few, mobility- arthritis or cognitive and/or mental health impairment- dementia/Alzheimer
A primary mental health concern that may result from a Pull Factor move is Relocation Stress Syndrome (RSS). RSS symptoms may include anxiety, dependence, depression and withdrawal and may last a year or more. Risk factors that may initiate RSS is directly linked to multiple losses, which includes the loss of control regarding one’s residence and living space.
Consider the Push Factors and Plan Early.
- Start the Discussion:
An AARP report states that 75% of children with parents reaching retirement age are already thinking about their parents living options. There are a multitude of senior living options. Make a wish list. In addition to considering your needs and your budget, think about the lifestyle and activities you wish to maintain and participate in.
- Plan a Visit & Participate:
Identify 3 or 4 senior communities that you would like to visit then call your children, close family or a friend to go on a visit with you. Check the senior communities activities calendar and plan to visit on a day when classes, lectures or other activities are offered that you can participate in.
- Consider an Overnight:
Ask the community if they will allow for a trial overnight. If so, go for lunch and dinner, stay over and then visit your new friends for breakfast. An overnight will allow you to learn about the staff, the other residence and will give you insight into the climate and atmosphere, which will ultimately help you make your decision.
Making the decision to move into a senior community can be emotionally painful, but it can also be exciting and offer new experiences and relationships. Consider SOCS as your local resource and support system when planning your next move. As Certified Relocation & Transition Specialist, our goal is to minimize the stress associated with Aging in Place or Relocating and Transitioning into a Senior Community. SOCS will….
- create a step by step moving plan.
- Schedule and oversee the actual move
- Manage shipments, storage, consignment, donation and recycling of unwanted items
- Contract and arrange auction or estate sale
- Provide a floor plan of new residence to determine what furniture can be accommodated- “rightsizing”
- Unpack and set up new residence
- Contract for post-move waste removal and house cleaning
- Assist with selecting a realtor and staging the home for market
All or a combination of the services listed are designed to take the worry and stress out of moving.
If you are not located in Greater Lafayette/Tippecanoe County or the surrounding region you may find a Senior Move Manager near you by referencing the National Association of Senior Move Managers.
You will find additional information on choosing long-term care services with AARP.
Share with us your insights and experiences with finding and moving into a senior community. We love to hear from you.
The SOCS Crew