When it became obvious that my 80-year-old mother should consider moving from her home of 40 years, my brother and I tried hard to get her excited about this new phase of her life.
At an intellectual level, she knew a move made sense. But at a deeper, visceral level she had trouble thinking about actually leaving the house and town that had been her home for so many years.
Unfortunately, Mom died before she actually moved into the new apartment we had finally agreed on. She had eventually made peace with the idea of moving and seemed genuinely comfortable with the idea. As I went through her purse following her death, I found some notes she had written to herself as she evaluated the pros and cons of making the move.
I hope the insights from our experience will be helpful. These were her concerns:
Will there be a beauty shop and a hairdresser that I like?
Will there be a doctor who will accept Medicare?
Will there be a gas station that will pump my gas and check my tires?
What about my dog?
Will I be able to set my own pace and daily routine?
How will I get rid of things I don’t need?
Will my friends still come to see me, or will I be able to go see them?
Will my money run out before I die?
Will I have to have a roommate?
Can I choose my own food?
Will I have to move again if I move now?
Can I keep my own furniture and knick-knacks?
Will there be a foul odor at this new place?
Will I have any privacy?
Can I make new friends? What if I don’t fit in?
As you and your aging loved one discuss the merits of making a move, remember to look at things from the perspective of the one making the move. While the emotional bonds may be the tie that binds, the seemingly trivial detail may be the most troublesome to your loved one.