My 92-year-old mom has been living alone in the home she’s been in for decades. Until recently, she’s been fine doing so with the help of an in-home caregiver. Lately, however, it seems like her quality of life is declining.
Because I live four hours away, I can’t visit every week, especially during winter. While her caregiver does a great job tending to her physical needs, my mom is isolated and lonely. During my holiday visit, I tried to talk to Mom about moving to a senior living community. It seems like that would give her an opportunity to participate in activities and make new friends.
Before I could begin the discussion, my mom got upset. Though I believe she doesn’t feel safe on her own, she seems afraid of moving to senior living. I dropped the subject and am looking for advice on how to identify what might be holding her back. Can you help?
Wendy in Holland, MI
Why a Senior Might Resist Moving
What a good observation. Sometimes adult children become frustrated with a parent who won’t consider moving because they don’t understand how tough the decision can be. And an aging parent might not be willing or able to identify just what is making them so resistant. By understanding some of the common fears older adults have about moving, you might be better able to help your mother make an informed decision.
Here are a few reasons seniors cite for not wanting to move to a senior living community:
- Giving up the family home: This generation of older adults often live in their homes for decades, just like your mother. She likely has many happy memories attached to her house. Selling it and moving anywhere may seem like she is leaving a piece of the family behind.
- Fear of change: Many people fear making a change at any stage in life. But for older adults, change often seems even more difficult. As you talk with your mom about moving, try to keep this in mind and move slowly.
- Believing the myths: There are a variety of myths and misperceptions about senior living communities. Many are based on the old, institutional style nursing homes that were so common when this generation of older adults was young. They don’t understand how vibrant today’s senior communities are.
- Perceived losses: Your mom may resist moving because she fears losing aspects of her home life. Loss of freedom, privacy, and independence rank high on the list of concerns for many seniors.
- Running out of money: Many people believe senior living communities are expensive and only for the rich. An older adult might worry that they will run out of money if they move. In reality, senior living communities can be an affordable solution as many of the older adult’s current home expenses are included in the base fee.
I hope this helps as you try to come up with a solution that will improve your mom’s quality of life. Please let us know if you have any additional questions.
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