What seniors should consider when deciding whether to move

Apr 25, 2014

Moving out of a home and into senior housing may be a difficult decision. But with a wide variety of options available today, seniors can plan ahead with these choices in mind. This week on WRVO's health and wellness show "Take Care," hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen speak with Barbara Dopyera Daley, a social gerontologist and elder life advocate in Syracuse. Daley discusses how to determine the right time to consider senior housing options.

Lorraine Rapp: When is the ideal time to be thinking about making this big move in one’s life?

Barbara Dopyera Daley: Well, interestingly, it’s not always a chronological age that’s a determining factor. So, it’s important to sort of ask yourselves several questions. Here are some of them: are you falling more? Or are you falling at all? Do you feel anxious or lonely? Note if you’re forgetting. Have you forgotten to eat, left the stove on, left your appointment book or phone, which we all do. Forgotten to take your medication? Are you repeating yourself? How’s your driving? And what’s your financial situation? And are you living in a small part of your space? And I think it’s important, although we don’t have a crystal ball, to kind of do the “what if” game. And that means take note from what your friends are going through and the people around you and ask yourself: ‘what if I can’t drive? What if I take a fall? What if I need help? What if I have an emergency? I think that’s a good starting point, and then also make sure you involve your family and friends and ask them these same questions you’re asking yourself about you.

Lorraine Rapp: What are some of the options? Let’s say you are able to live independently and don’t need an assisted care facility. Just give us an overview of what’s available and what options people should consider.

Barbara Dopyera Daley: Sure. Well let me clarify. There are two major types of senior housing. So the first one is what we all often think of when we age, or when people age, that myth that everyone goes to a nursing home. Then we go to assisted living. And assisted living is a general term that’s used to describe a residence for seniors where assistance is provided as needed.

Linda Lowen: You know that as you age, you’re probably going to decline over time. So you’re not only looking for immediate housing, but you’re looking for housing that may be connected to additional services that you don’t need right now, but it’s good to be in that pipeline. Is that something that seniors are doing more and more of?

Barbara Dopyera Daley: Well, those are often called continuing care retirement communities, the technical term for that. And that’s providing a continuum of care at different levels. Often these facilities can involve an entry fee. So I think people do have the idea of looking for facilities that offer a broad range of services within the same campus. That has benefits because you don’t have to change necessarily locations, physical locations. It has really good benefits if it’s a similar campus just because if spouses have different needs, they don’t have to be in different communities or in places where they can’t see each other.

More of this interview can be heard on Take Care, WRVO's health and wellness show Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Support for this story comes from the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York