No one starts out in life as a senior. We start out young and healthy and vibrant and full of life and an unquenchable thirst for independence and freedom. No young person wonders what it is like to lose their ability to drive. They spend their time fantasizing about what it is like to get a license and get out there on the open road. All of their adventures are in front of them. That is who we are as a species.
So no matter how many times one sees it happen to others who came before them, it is always a crushing shock when it comes their time to have their freedoms taken away by age and incapacity. They never thought it would happen to them. The transition from independent to dependent is never an easy move.
There are some ways to make the experience more bearable. If you have a loved one who is about to transition from stubborn denial to home care, here are some things you can do to make things a little less unbearable:
Let Them Keep the Car
A senior moving into a home care lifestyle is giving up a lot. Often, they were being encouraged to go to a facility for senior citizens and the compromise was they would stay in their home with a professional-looking in on them and helping out around the house. They essentially become prisoners in their own house. But they are nowhere near ready to give it up.
They might have the same kind of attachment to their car as well. Even if they don’t drive it again, find a way to let the car remain in their possession. The Great Northwest is one of the more beautiful places to retire. Collision repairs in Washington are easy to come by. Get the chariot fixed up, detailed, and looking its best. Allow them the fondest of memories. Take them out for a drive to some of their favorite spots from time to time. They might have to surrender their car keys. But they shouldn’t have to surrender the car until they're ready.
Don’t Make the Family Home Feel Like a Nursing Home
There are many sensible home modifications for the elderly in place. Those steps leading up the front porch might have to be replaced with a ramp. The bathroom will need handrails. Furniture will have to be rearranged to accommodate a rollator or walker.
All this, and more, can be done with aesthetic sensibilities in mind. Someone who didn’t want to be shuffled off to a nursing home will not appreciate having their house turned into something that feels like a nursing home to them. The thing to remember is that it is still their house. They may not be as capable as they once were. But they still want to be treated like an independent adult. They can’t feel like that if their house has been transformed into something they can’t recognize.
Keep Them Connected
If Covid has taught us anything, it is that there are ways to stay connected without leaving the house every day. We have all learned to use computers, phones, and tablets to have face to face conversations with people we love. There is plenty of tech for staying connected that is plenty accessible for seniors.
Seniors want to be independent. They don’t want to be alone. And they want to feel like they are still a part of life beyond the walls of their home. Bring the grandkids over to spend time with them. Set them up with delivery services for groceries, dining, prescriptions, and everything else they might need. But don’t just leave it there. Take them shopping. Take them out for lunch. Sit with them at the park. Don’t let them feel like they're in solitary confinement in their own home.
There is some much a senior has to lose as they get older. It is enough that they lose their health. Their hearing and their vision is never going to suddenly improve. Don’t take away things they don’t have to lose. Let them keep their car. Keep their house feeling like a home, and keep their connection with the world.
We can Help! Our local advisors can help your family make a confident decision about senior living.