For decades, home ownership was synonymous with the American Dream. Millions of people aspired to buy the perfect little house with a white picket fence where they could happily raise their children in suburbia. Through hard work and determination, many Tampa Bay seniors made that dream come true.
Now, as they grow older, these proud Tampa Bay seniors and homeowners must decide when, and if, to leave the homes for which they fought so hard and sacrificed so much. Not surprisingly, many are doing so grudgingly. In fact, a significant percentage of Older Americans plan to stay in their current homes for the next five to ten years, no matter what.
Even so, the harsh reality is that the chances of aging in place safely diminish with age. As a recent survey indicates, more than 60 percent of seniors ages 60 to 70 say they have no trouble living on their own without help. On the other hand, only 43 percent of those age 70 and older, have reached the same conclusion.
So how do you know if you should stay or go? Let us share some clues that can help you start your decision making process. If you are living by yourself or with an aging spouse and one or both of you are having difficulties with:
- Chronic health conditions that are getting worse
- Taking prescription medication as needed
- Keeping up with yard work and other home maintenance
- Self-care, including bathing and dental hygiene
- Getting around
- Serious falls that result in broken bones or similar injuries
- Bouncing back from illnesses and injuries
- Cooking and maintaining a healthy/balanced diet
- Taking care of your pets
- Going to the supermarket and similar activities
- Keeping up with financial obligations
Other clues can include feeling confused or becoming disoriented in once-familiar places; neglecting to pick up or open the mail; feeling cut off from friends, family or the community; or simply feeling lonely.
As you consider these as a Tampa Bay senior, know that deciding to leave your home is just the first step. The next one is deciding where to live. Since no two situations are exactly the same the answer will depend on your unique circumstances. For example, if you can still live alone but you are becoming overwhelmed in a big house, downsizing to an apartment or condo may be the solution. If you are feeling lonely, you may want to talk to your adult children about living with them. Retirement communities, assisted living facilities, or long-term facilities such as nursing homes may also be viable, or better, alternatives depending on your needs.
Each scenario has its advantages and disadvantages, and we know it is important to discuss your options with your loved ones. Due to the financial considerations involved, it is also important to consult with an experienced elder law attorney who will be able to help you plan forward.
We know this is an emotional and stressful time. We understand that you may be reluctant to share your concerns about leaving your home. We would like you to know that we are here to provide support and guidance on this and any other elder care issues. Please feel free to contact our law office to schedule a meeting at any time.