Part 1: How Can Senior Living be Both Organized and Easy?


This series was written by Ideal Organizing + Design and will be published over the next several weeks to help you stay organized and make informed decisions as you age. 

Part 1

Bette Davis once said, “It’s not for sissies!” when describing getting older. Aging isn’t easy, life-changing decisions aren’t easy, and the physical and mental work involved in downsizing isn’t easy either.  Getting older can, however, be done the “hard” way or the ‘easy’ way. 

The “hard” way is to keep putting it off, hope for the best and then have most if not all of your decisions made for you, in the midst of a life-changing event such as a medical crisis or death of your spouse. Take heart, for this is probably the last time you will have to make so many life-altering decisions all at once.

Whether you wish to remain in your current home or relocate to a more suitable location, follow these guidelines to make decisions and take action the easier way.

  1. Develop a PLAN
  2. START EARLY-Don’t wait until you have to act
  3. Get HELP from an expert to avoid costly mistakes. 

CREATING YOUR PLAN

First, you need to make the decision of where you want or need to live in your later years. While the move, if that is what you decide, might be years off, the planning should begin early. If this decision is based solely on emotion, many of us are going to want to stay in our home. It is familiar, we have happy memories, we chose the location, there’s plenty of space, we have our independence, it’s easier not to have to move, etc. Perhaps you don’t mind leaving the task of moving out to someone else, in the event of your death.

To support the soundness of this decision, you will need to do research in the following areas:

Financial Can you afford to keep up the home? Look at current expenses and then assume that in time you will need to pay for things you used to do for yourself like regular lawn care, landscape, maintenance, cooking, and housekeeping. If you are married and your spouse predeceases you, will you still be able to afford all of these things on your own? This may seem like an exaggeration now but over time, many seniors’ homes become unsafe and reach a state of disrepair when they cannot do repairs themselves. Often, these folks are suffering and their loved ones aren’t aware. It may be that the older adult does not want to be a burden or worse their home is in such condition that they are now embarrassed. If they can afford help, they are reluctant to call because they are afraid of being forcefully relocated. This can happen if it is proven that a person can no longer care for themselves. No one wants to go through a lawsuit to stay in their home so plan ahead if this is your desire.

Safety in and around home Is your home still in a safe location? Neighborhoods sometimes change over the years and seniors are often more vulnerable to crime. Are you able to enter and exit your home safely? Are there stairs? Can a ramp be built? etc… 

The many topics of home safety are listed in the AARP Home Fit Guide

To help you assess and fix preventable risks in your home, Ideal Organizing + Design offers the Home Safety Audit

Transportation and Convenience to Stores Will your home still be convenient if you are no longer able to drive? (Test this out by not using your car for one week.) Will you be able to get groceries and sundries when you need them? For some, delivery is becoming a more viable option.

Access to Medical care, Hospital, and Caregiving How close is your home to the nearest hospital? Distance could mean the difference between life and death. Are your doctor and dentist relatively close by?Will you be able to arrange and afford in-home care if you are no longer able to perform all the Activities of Daily Living and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living. (ADLs and IADLs)

Do You Get Lonely? Is your current home near to your loved ones and do you have a network of supportive peers close by?

Consider all of these facets if you want to age in place in your current home and next week, we’ll take a look at some other options so you can decide what is the easiest choice for you.

Contact author and Professional Organizer, Jennifer Dwight at Ideal Organizing and Design