Ailing Family Member: When It’s Time to Move Closer
As the baby boomer generation moves into the retirement phase of life, many Generation Xers are making tough decisions about whether to move closer to parents or other family members who may be in need of their help. As a sandwich generation, these Gen Xers have questions about the right time to make a move and options on how to help aging loved ones. If you’re caught between caring for two generations and wanting the best for your elder family members, Clair Wentz at CaringFromAfar.com has put together some things for you to consider.
Weighing the Pros and Cons of a Move
No one can tell you exactly when it’s the right time for a move; however, moving closer to the senior who needs your care can make a big difference to their quality of life and your own peace of mind. If you’re considering moving closer to older family members to help out, start with a pros and cons list.
Consider the cost of the move and review the senior’s living options before making any big plans. Think about calling a real estate agent to understand what would be involved in the sale of your home or other property.
If you have a family, start by having an honest conversation with them. Changing jobs can be a challenge. Older children will not want to leave their friends. Your spouse may not want to move just to be closer to your older relatives. If moving is difficult, consider having your senior relatives move closer to you instead.
Hiring the Pros for Help
Before your move, it’s likely your older loved one already needs help. You can hire people who are local for things like home upgrades or renovations instead of making the drastic decision to move.
For example, instead of making the drastic decision to move, you could help them to hire professionals in their area to maintain their home with tasks such as cleaning gutters, lawn care, and food services. The average cost for a gutter cleaning is under $200. Something as simple as searching for ‘gutter cleaning’ in your parent’s zip code and contracting them to do the work could save your family member stress and give you peace of mind.
Does your aging family member need help with groceries? Today groceries can be ordered online to save them the stress of shopping. Or check out Meals on Wheels. They provide home-cooked meals daily to seniors across the country.
Having Honest Conversations
If you’re considering moving to help an older relative, it’s important to have an honest conversation with them about their wants and needs. Even if your plan is to be available to help, it’s a good idea to be clear about what your loved one is comfortable with.
Does your mother or father want you to be closer to them? How close? This should be an honest conversation you need with them before you move.
If you have brothers and sisters, you need to have honest conversations with them too. For example, if you move close to your parents but someone else in the family has power of attorney or is already the primary caregiver, moving closer can cause tension in the family. They may be uncomfortable if you question their decisions. The time to figure this out is before you make a move.
Setting boundaries or talking about the final living situation is a great way to know that your move will work out well for you and your older relatives. Talk about the caregiver duties that will be expected of you. The last thing you want to do is make a move, thinking you’re being helpful, only to find out that your senior family member would prefer an alternative arrangement such as assisted living.
Peace of Mind
In the end, the decision of whether to move closer to the seniors you love is a personal one. You can make the move easier on yourself and your family members if you take time to have honest conversations with everyone involved, to reach out for professional help as a compromise before moving, and to plan ahead where appropriate.
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