Many older adults think about moving to a senior living community, or have had talks with their family members about moving, but often have the feeling that they are ‘not ready.’ At Ebenezer, we hear you. (We also hear “I don’t know why I waited!” but that’s another article.)
Just because you’re not ready now, doesn’t mean you can’t work on getting things in order when or if you move. And even when you’ve taken care of the things below, it still doesn’t mean you have to make a move. It’s always best to be prepared. So if you want to or have to make a move, you’ll have the important pieces all ready to go!
Visit Your Doctor
Hopefully, you are getting your regular check-ups with your primary physician, but if not, make an appointment. Have the doctor review your medication list to make sure the list is up to date and appropriate. Let him or her know that you are considering a move to senior living. If you end up needing to move to an assisted living setting, your doctor will have to sign off on orders. This can happen more quickly (and more smoothly) if you have recently seen your doctor and have had these discussions in person.
You have 2 assignments here.
- Research your senior living options. Think about where you want to live. In your home town? Close to your kids? Tour a few communities and ask to come for lunch, and/or for your favorite activity to get a feel for what your life would be like if you lived there. Remember it’s important to try the food! Talk to the other residents to get their perspective and what it was like for them to make the move and settle into their new home.
- Research what your monthly and annual expenses are and get a good handle on what your monthly income and current assets are worth. When you start looking around at senior living communities, you might experience some sticker shock. But, when you take stock of all that is included (and what you are currently paying for utilities, home & yard maintenance, groceries, home security, a life alert system, taxes, etc.) you will start to see the value.
Depending on where you want to be, what type of apartment you want, and what service level you need (senior living, assisted living, memory care or enhanced care) you may encounter long waiting lists. When you do your research and shop around, ask about waiting lists and get on a few of them. There’s no guarantee something will be available for you when you are ready, but this gives you a little more priority and increases your odds of getting the apartment you want when you want or need it.
When you move to a senior living community and it comes time to sign a lease, you will likely need to identify a Power of Attorney and Health Care representative, and you may need to provide copies of the forms. Make sure you have quick access to your notarized Power of Attorney form and your Health Care Directive.
That’s it! You may have noticed there is no ‘to-do’ item for the house. Even though getting the house ready, or needing to downsize, is a reason many people feel they’re not ready for a move, a lot of times, when people make a transition, it’s not because they’ve finished downsizing and their house is in perfect condition to sell. When you decide you’re ready, you’ll figure out quickly what to do with your house and your stuff. There are realtors and move managers who specialize in working with seniors who can make your move and the sale of your home a breeze!