How many times have we heard the expression: there’s no place like home? Our homes provide more than shelter from the elements; our homes are where we feel most comfortable, where we can create a space that reflects our style and creativity, and where we create memories with family and friends.
Most older people find the thought of changing their housing overwhelming. Earlier housing transitions are often accompanied by a new job, a growing family or belief that a new home is improving one’s circumstances. For seniors, a move is sometimes a result of less desirable circumstances. The top reasons seniors share with me about why they consider leaving their homes include maintenance and the never-ending responsibility of caring for a home, health and mobility issues, lack of companionship and increased transportation issues.
Continuing care communities like Milwaukee Catholic Home provide ease in living, access to a wealth of services, health monitoring and endless opportunities for recreational programming and companionship. A move to a community seems like the simplest of solutions for our loved ones who reach a certain age, yet the decision is a very personal one that often requires hours of researching and contemplation before being realized.
So why does it seem like so many seniors avoid making a move when it seems so logical? First of all, there are many choices available and on the surface many places seem alike. It takes a thorough investigation into the overall operation and offerings of a prospective community. They may be more drawn to one community’s mission statement, reputation, activity programming, pricing plans or health care options.
These attributes are certainly important, but an appreciation of the culture of the community is even more critical. By touring 3-4 communities, an individual will resonate with one or two more than the others. Prospective residents will relate that they just feel more comfortable with the environment, staff and residents they encounter during their visit. By narrowing the scope and perhaps getting on a wait list for just the right apartment, it becomes easier for people to imagine a new beginning and begin to deal with the “chores” related to downsizing, preparing a house for sale, and planning for a new apartment and lifestyle.
Along the way there are usually obstacles, big and small, that may create a sense of upheaval and uncertainty. It is important that the individual feels supported by their family, friends, staff at chosen community and the professionals assisting with the transition. Often seniors want to “go it alone” as they have in past transitions because they want to be perceived as independent, but the acceptance of a little help and guidance from others during this period can greatly alleviate stress for all those concerned.
Over the past 20 years, I’ve assisted hundreds of seniors move from their very comfortable homes, condos and apartments to a continuing care community. Not a day goes by when I don’t feel a sense of privilege to have a career that allows me such deep relationships with the people we serve. I love to work with seniors and their families during this difficult yet exciting period of life. The most rewarding part of my job is seeing how soon after a move our new residents adapt to a new care-free lifestyle, make new friends, learn new things and embrace their new “home.”
Click here to hear John McGivern discuss his mother’s experience with making a future move to The Residence at Milwaukee Catholic Home!