Seniors residences: When your needs change, your home should, too

by Bonnie Sandler, BS.W.

You struggle with your ambivalence and finally decide to move to a retirement residence. You are able live on your own, but you are tired of shopping for food, cooking and feeling lonely. You visit several residences and choose one that you feel will best suit your needs. Once settled in, you think your moving days are over.

Think again.

After living in your new home for a while, you might find it just doesn’t fit your needs. You don’t seem to fit in with the crowd, you are not content with the meal plan, or perhaps you find that the social activities are not to your liking. You visit a friend and think you might be happier in their residence. If you’re nearing the end of your lease, why not make the move if you feel your quality of life would improve? Private residences can be costly and while you should not expect perfection, you should feel that you made the right move.

You have a limited budget. You move into a residence that matches your budget. But then your needs change and such “à la carte” services as bathing assistance or help with getting dressed might cost more than you can afford. You are no longer participating in the activities you once so enjoyed due to limited mobility. You realize you are paying for the amenities of a lovely residence but are no longer benefiting from them.

You move into an autonomous residence with limited services. After living there for some time the staff notices a change in your abilities and feels that you are no longer able to live autonomously. The services you require are not available and meetings take place with you and your loved ones to discuss the need for you to move to a residence that offers care. This may be a difficult move since you have been happy in this home for several years. The need to move might be stipulated in your lease. Should a private residence be unaffordable to you, hospitals will arrange relocation, which may involve more than one move.

A residence might shut down, often because of financial difficulties. These are difficult times for the residents, their families and staff, who have no control over the situation. Being forced to adjust to a new environment is not easy and can take its toll on a frail senior. Some moves go surprisingly well and the individual, after a period of transition, ends up preferring their new residence.

Benjamin Franklin said, “The only things certain in life are death and taxes.”

We can add a move to a senior residence, which might not be your last move.

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