Moving. A word that brings fear to the hearts of most seniors. You’ve been in your home forever, but either you can’t manage it anymore, or you really don’t want to. While every situation is different, here is some advice:
- PLAN EARLY. All the reasons you were thinking of moving (mainly, health reasons connected with your age) are only going to get worse over time. Don’t wait until the fall and broken hip before you decide it’s time to move. Figure out your options now, while you still have more choices.
- CONSULT PROFESSIONALS. A geriatric care manager near you can help assess your current situation and suggest some things (home modifications, caregiver programs) to help you stay in your house safely for longer. If you need to move, they can recommend some great options. I often refer my clients to the local ASAP, Elder Services of Cape Cod and the Islands (for Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket) for additional guidance. Of course, the best place to start is probably your senior center.
- CALCULATE THE COST — YOU MAY BE SURPRISED. Many of my clients remained in their home because they assumed they couldn’t afford to move or make home modifications. The cost of moving to an assisted living community may seem high until you compare it to the taxes, insurance, house maintenance, and food bills that you will leave behind. So do the numbers. The professionals I referred to above can help.
- DON’T RELY ON THE ADVICE YOU GOT AT DUNKIN’ DONUTS. Friends and family members may have gone through this, but their experience and knowledge of the options will always be more limited than that of the professionals who actually help people with these issues for a living.
The bottom line is simple. If you’re worried about this, learn more, and then do something.
If you want to learn more about this topic, check out my February seminar on Frank and Mary’s YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/elderlawfrankandmary, and your local cable station, MVTV, along with the Frank and Mary on the Vineyard cable TV show, where my co-host, Sandie Corr-Dolby, and I address many common issues facing seniors, and the resources available. If you have any questions, please contact me at 508-860-1470 or email@example.com.
Arthur P. Bergeron and Leah A. Kofos are elder law attorneys in the trusts and estates group at Mirick O’Connell.