We are so affected by changing seasons. Fall has arrived and you can feel a shift not only in tree colors but by the way you see the world. Just think back to the spring with flowers just beginning to grace us with their beauty. We get that sense of renewal along with a burst of energy. Our homes shed signs of winter wear and we think about improvements and the summer ahead. So many of my clients will call in winter and tell me it is definitely the last cold season they will ever spend in their home. Then by May all is out the window and the thought of leaving becomes a distant memory. Fall arrives and thoughts of winter begin to creep into our thinking. For many older adults, winter can mean isolation and sadness. The sidewalks become slippery and many are less confident in their balance. So staying home becomes a daily habit by necessity.
We are all connected to others in so many ways. Our families and friends are a life line and a joy. So often when confined in our homes for the winter it can feel like hibernation. Health can take a major hit if we are not moving and mobile. Our bodies require constant exercise so that we can remain relatively strong and our bodies supported. When living in an environment where we are not interacting with others, depression and lack of movement can settle in. That is not a healthy situation especially for those who require assistance.
Try to think ahead to the coming winter months. For the children of older adults, having a parent living in isolation can be distressing and overwhelming. We love our parents and it hurts to see them living a life of solitude and loneliness.
"Change is so difficult not only for the parent living in their long time home, but also for a child who wants to honor mom and dad’s wishes to stay at home. Conversations can be difficult for all parties and the subject of a move can provoke intense emotion by all parties involved."
Winter is a few months away, but planning can start now. The real estate market is strong and typically prices do well until Thanksgiving. So there is still time this year for a move from one’s long time home. Is the home a labor of love or has it become just a labor? If the latter is the case, it may be a good time to begin a dialogue with family so that preparation can be made now to begin the search for a senior apartment or condominium. Change is so difficult that we will remain in an unhealthy situation rather than move to a safe and healthy home. It is our nature to resist a known unhealthy living situation with one that is new and uncertain. Waiting too long to make a move can have tough outcomes. Try to visualize the coming winter and how you have done in the past. Ask questions of yourself and loved ones so that a dialogue can begin. Will you interact on a daily basis with others if you are living alone? Is your home matching your health needs such as stairs, bathroom and transportation? Is your family becoming divided over the current housing situation? These are questions that can evoke a healthy conversation for you living in the home or for those of you who are worried about your parents. Winter is coming and change is tough. Gather information as to housing options available as well as preparing a home for a future sale. There is no harm in a healthy discussion. There is potential heartache by avoiding life’s challenges. Winter can be a beautiful peaceful time of year if the proper planning has been done. Enjoy the fall colors and know that your future happiness is dependent on realistic planning as well as gathering important insight and advice from those who you love and trust.