Seniors Transition Solutions
 

Finding a New Home

Families face challenges when making decisions about seniors and their housing

June 2010 - Fifty-Five Plus Magazine - By Madeline Kalil - Click here to see original article

There's an elephant in the room for many middle-aged Canadians, although not many people want to recognize it. Our parents are getting older and many will need to move to a retirement home "sometime" in the future. Even though 60 may be the new 50 in 2010, more than a quarter of the total Canadian population is over 55 years old and aging.

Combined with rising life expectancies, it is inevitable that a large number of our aging population will want or need some new form of accommodation away from the family home. That accommodation could be as simple as a retirement home, which can provide independent living without the need for snow shovelling or grass cutting and allows the freedom for travel without worrying about the house. On the other hand, the need might be for an assisted living home that provides a basic level of care or a nursing-care home with full-time medical staff.

Being prepared will bring peace of mind, allows the elderly person to adjust to the idea, and make the transition less traumatic.

The options are numerous and confusing. Knowing what homes and services are available, how much they cost, and how to make the transition is vital information. The Ministry of Health in Ontario (www.health.gov.on.ca) provides an outline of the situation with respect to long-term care in this province, including a current detail of the costs of different levels of care. With this information, one can assess the financial implications and begin determining what options might be available when the time comes. Financial institutions and financial planners can help to plan ahead.

Finding out about the types of accommodation that are available in this region, learning about the homes in the area and the services they offer, as well as their waiting lists, if any, will prepare the families for any eventuality. Being prepared will bring peace of mind, allows the elderly person to adjust to the idea, and make the transition less traumatic.

Most of us are procrastinators and we are too busy with our lives to think ahead about situations we don't really want to happen. Fortunately, sometimes the elderly person can make the decision about their own future and act on it. However, often the gathering of information is postponed and the time comes when the elderly are not able to make that decision alone. For most people, having parents leave the family home is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so it can be a daunting task to find information about different homes and the services they provide, let alone to understand the details involved in downsizing, disposing of cherished possessions, and the actual move. It can become a full-time job while trying to care for your own family and keep up your own career.

"...finding a home and helping her father move, Rosemary realized that most people would be as lost as she was and would welcome someone to guide them through this..."

Rosemary Pearson found out how quickly a person's life can get turned around and how difficult the process can be when she had to deal with the traumatic experience involving her own father. One day, while getting out of bed, he felt excruciating pain in his back. After struggling with the pain for a day, his doctor diagnosed a broken vertebrae and told him he could no longer live on his own and to consider moving into a home. Rosemary was given a list of telephone numbers and told "Good luck!"

After going through the experience of finding a home and helping her father move, Rosemary realized that most people would be as lost as she was and would welcome someone to guide them through this difficult time in their lives.As a result of her experience and the knowledge she gained, she established a small business called Seniors Transition Solutions (613 293-1359; www.seniorstransitionsolutions.com) to help other seniors and their families through this difficult life transition. A sympathetic approach allays the trauma of the situation and helps families by providing basic information about different homes and services in the Ottawa area. Families are offered guidance in selecting the levels of service a person requires, as well as arranging and even accompanying families on visits to potential new homes. In addition, Rosemary can provide personal insights into individual homes and will work with clients to find the home that's right for the family. After the family agrees on accommodation, Seniors Transition Solutions partners with other professionals (real estate agents, lawyers, financial advisors, moving and downsizing consultants) to help families prepare the home for sale, provide finan-cial advice on living comfortably and estate planning, and even helping in the necessary downsizing and the actual packing and moving.

We all want the best for our loved ones. Our parents have worked many years making sure that we can have a future, so it is incumbent upon us to make sure their futures are as bright and comfortable as possible as well.

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