Now close your eyes and repeat after me, There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home. Sound familiar? There are many of us that feel the same way Dorothy did, back in Oz. Most people are creatures of habit, and the comfort of familiarity is a great feeling. Memories, years of family celebrations, and friendly neighbors can do a lot for the soul. The feeling of belonging somewhere, being known, and being a part of something creates a warm and fuzzy feeling.
Most of those comforts and feelings never go away, even if we move away. As many seniors watch family members, friends, and neighbors move away from the place they call home, they are left savoring the sweetness of earlier times and deep friendships.
Forty years ago, seniors had 3 options of where to live as they aged. The first choice was to stay in their home. The second option was to move in with their children. The third and least appealing, was to move into a nursing home.
Although today’s generation of seniors have a longer list of options, a majority of them still fear moving into a retirement community. They are worried they will lose their connection to the past. So, they question the need to move, while others see no reason to stay. The truth is, there are as many good reasons to stay in your home, as there are to move to a retirement community. The most important question you need to ask yourself is, Where am I likely to be healthier in a year?
As you ponder this question, review what your doctor has advised for good brain/body health? Over time, we witness that seniors who have moved from their homes, come in de-conditioned about what has happened over a 5-7 year period. It may have started with the loss of their drivers license, loss of a spouse, diminished eye sight or hearing, or increased pain in their joints. Commonly, until something happens like a fall or injury, a suspicious incident with a stranger, or an out of character action- the family may not notice these changes of condition.
Although we cant reverse aging, we can reduce the impact that aging has on your life and your sense of well being. These are just a few questions that will guide you in making a decision about whether its time to make a move for a better life.
- Time for a 50,000 mile check-up? It is important to define well being in all segments of your life: heart, mind, body, spirit.
- Physical exercise? Doctors almost always recommend physical exercise. What does your doctor recommend for you? Are you meeting that goal?
- Nutritional diet? How many meals per week do you eat that are packaged frozen dinners?
- Mental stimulation? What was the last thing you were engaged in learning about? Technology? A musical instrument? A foreign language?
- Social connections? Do you go without human contact for 3-4 days per week?
There are a couple of report cards to rate retirement communities. The Washington State Survey being one, and the Resident Satisfaction Surveys are the second. If you decide to start taking tours of retirement communities, be sure to ask for a copy of their State Survey from the last couple of years (by law they must be posted for the public). You can also request a copy of feed back given by their residents, and their families.
If you are beginning to question whether it’s time to explore other options for a new home, take all of your options into consideration. Most importantly, keep in mind that home is not just the place you live, but as the saying goes, Where your heart is. So, follow your heart, and find a sanctuary where you feel safe, loved, and important.