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  • Writer's pictureRoman Elizen

Moving Home to Care for Elderly Parents: Is It Time?

Family is a key source of support for the elderly. Not only are alternatives to family care cost-prohibitive, but most older adults prefer to age in a familiar environment where they can maintain independence and stay close to family and friends.

If you move far from home for better opportunities or a higher quality of life, eventually you face the difficult decision of whether to move home to care for aging parents. How do you know when it’s time and how can you make the transition as smooth as possible?

Here are some tips from Justin Ippoliti to help you make this difficult decision.

6 signs elderly parents shouldn’t be living alone

The signs of waning independence can be subtle. However, there are some warning signs loved ones should never ignore.

● Appearance changes such as sudden weight loss or poor personal hygiene.

● A decline in household maintenance such as lapsed housekeeping, expired food, or unpaid bills.

● Memory loss that interferes with everyday tasks like driving, shopping, cooking, or paying bills.

● Getting lost or having frequent traffic incidents while driving.

● Mobility changes, an uptick in injuries, and/or reluctance to leave home or walk normal distances.

● Mood changes or social withdrawal.

How urgently does your parent need help?

If your parent is largely independent but needs assistance with home maintenance, shopping, and other routine responsibilities, look into local help to buy time and peace of mind before moving. Does the grocery store offer home delivery or is there a city transportation service for seniors? You can also hire local house cleaners, lawn care companies, pet sitters, and other local pros online using platforms like Rover and Angi. A quick search for Angi landscapers, for example, brings up a variety of options complete with reviews and quote requests so you can screen and hire without calling around.

Elderly adults who check all or most of these boxes aren’t safe living alone. Falls can be deadly for frail older adults and seniors with cognitive decline are at risk of injury and isolation. If a parent displays several of the above warning signs, there’s no time to waste. Start searching for real estate agents and interstate moving companies and make a plan to sell your house quickly. An all-cash offer may be the best option for a house that needs work. However, most houses sell surprisingly fast with a good agent, smart pricing, and a bit of cleaning and staging.

How to assess senior home safety

A longtime home can grow dangerous as people get older. Homes with staircases, narrow corridors or cramped bathrooms and kitchens may not be suitable for older adults with mobility impairments. Before moving in with an elderly parent, ask yourself if your family home is truly the best place to live. Elderly parents may be safer and happier in a home adapted to their needs. Use this checklist to determine if a parent’s home is age-friendly or to assess the age-friendliness of a home you’re purchasing.

Tips for transitioning into family caregiving

Family caregiving is challenging work. These tips will help you prepare for your new role as a family caregiver.

● Organize your elderly parent’s medical information and legal documents so they’re up-to-date and accessible.

● To gain a better grasp of the big financial picture, use this debt-to-income tool to calculate your parent’s expenses -- and your own.

● Learn how to be a medical advocate for an elderly parent.

● Balancing caregiving with self-care and making time for your own health and wellbeing.

● Don’t do it all yourself. Share caregiving duties with relatives and utilize paid help and respite care as needed.

Connect with online support groups for caregivers and relatives of seniors with dementia.

● Take advantage of government programs to support family caregivers.

The support of nearby family and friends makes all the difference for elderly adults. And for the adult children who move home to care for aging parents, it’s both a privilege and a sacrifice. Utilize available services to make your relocation as stress-free as possible and connect with your local caregiving community for resources, community, and support.

Justin Ippoliti is eager to work alongside you to accomplish all of your buying/selling home needs. His background in law and education allows him to fully service clients as both an advocate and an educator. Call 414-419-4797.

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