Begin where it matters: your parents needs.
Having dealt with the difficult decision of whether or not to move my dad-in-law from his home, aside from the question of when, eventually the decision was based on what was best for dad more than any other reason. After he’d fallen once, several months before moving out, this was a great indicator of concerns to come. Granted, dad had dementia. It had progressed and his needs were more pronounced than seniors who show no signs of memory issues. This in mind, and in my experience with dad as well as other clients I’ve helped, here are questions to consider before making the decision of moving mom and/or dad from their home to an alternate senior residence, such as independent senior apartments or assisted living.
- Has your loved one been assessed by a geriatric doctor, someone who specializes in dementia? What was the outcome? Was a driver’s license in question or taken away?
- Does your loved one live alone or with someone else? If living with someone, is that person able to care for your loved one or do they too, need assistance from time to time?
- What is the condition of the home? Is it safe? Can your loved one cook? Should they be near a kitchen stove or do they forget to turn it off after using? Are there ample grab bars throughout the home? How much is your loved one able to care for him or herself without assistance of any kind?
- What are your financial options? What kinds of financial resources do you or your family have? What resources can you use to care for your parent(s) if you should decide they remain home or move?
- How are they socially? Do they enjoy the company of others, activities or would they perhaps be more comfortable in a living environment with less stimulus?
- What are the current rental prices in your neighborhood? Could your parent(s) move, keep the house and use rental income to cover part of the cost for assisted living? Should they consider selling at all?
I know there’s a lot to think about. And no two people or circumstances are alike. Dementia is an umbrella term; there are many types, some more progressive than others. With dad, he plateaued a long time – very few serious signs emerged for several years. Nonetheless, keeping in tune with his behavior, spending time doing activities, going places, sharing life with him helped understand and see when those serious signs appeared. In the meantime, we were able to do the research and gain information necessary for when the day came he needed to move out of his house.
Before making the important decision whether or not to sell your parents’ house while dealing with dementia, my hope is you seek the help you need. Please use the resources available to you, be it Alzheimer’s Association or other community resources in the particular county you live in. Look for various senior resources above in the menu under the title called “Senior Real Estate: Advocacy”. And I’m always available to help. Contact me anytime. Know that you need not make difficult decisions by yourself. Your parents are in caring hands.