Guest Blogger – Harry Cline – New Caregiver – The Best Advice for Seniors Considering Their Lifestyle Options

For the first-time caregiver, taking care of a loved one can be overwhelming so there is a bit of responsibility for seniors to plan for the day when they may need someone to care for them.  But they must also plan for having a sustainable lifestyle that makes their later years their finer years.

Though the experience of caregiving can get grueling, if plans are not in place, seasoned caregivers will tell you, with a little guidance, it can also be one of the most fulfilling experiences life has to offer.

Harry Cline has compiled some of the internet’s best resources to give you a head start on your caregiver’s journey by preparing seniors to someday be cared for by another while remaining comfortable until that time comes.


Harry Cline, of New Caregiver, submitted this post for seniors to select their ‘Senior Lifestyle Options’.  I appreciate him.  Thanks, Harry!

I have taken the audacity to interject in Harry’s content that senior lifestyle preparation is the precursor to senior caregiving.  In retrospect, I would advise seniors to plan their lives and lifestyle with this inevitability in mind. 

…Someone may have to care for you later in your life.  Be realistic about it.  Kevy


As having served as a sole caregiver for my mother as she approached 100 years old, I will not glamourize the journey of caregiving for an elder, especially when coming from a large family, and having a mother who made no concrete plans for her care.  It was a topic that she and the family avoided.

 Fortunately, my experience ended as one of the most profound in my life. 

But glamour came only after my work was done, and God took over.  Now, I smile every day that I think of my mother, knowing that I gave all that I could when she needed me, as she did when I was a child, and I needed her. 

I did not realize until years later, that it would be “the most fulfilling experiences life has to offer.”

But still, I must admit that it would have been a lot easier if she had laid out her wishes and plans as though that day would come because it did.


Mr. Cline presents recommendations on senior home care options. 

I suggest that seniors take his advice in stride.  He’s published a book on it, The A-Z Home Care Handbook!

My 5 Suggestions For Seniors As A Sole Caregiver

  1. Decide who you wish to care for you if the need arises. Make it clear to your children and family.
  2. Hire an attorney to get your insurance, estate, living POA, Durable POA, and will in order.
  3. Make sure that your home does not become a financial burden you can least afford in the future. Mitigate financial challenges in property taxes, expensive maintenance, or renovations.
  4. Make it clear to your children and family whether or not you wish to be placed in a nursing home. Prevent sibling rivalry.
  5. Be upfront about your burial and memorization desires, such as burial vs. cremation, funeral vs. none, and even your favorite hymns and scriptures that you want to be shared at your memorial. My mother helped to select her coffin, and the color that she wanted to wear in advance, at 95 years of age!

I am preparing in this way today though I am 61 years old.


Is it time for a change of scenery, but you aren’t sure what will be the best fit?

Seniors have more to choose from than ever before, and things can get overwhelming fast. Seasons As My Teacher offers some tips on what you need to know about various home care options and how to decide what arrangement is best for you.


Predominant Plans

Generally, most seniors would like to stay in their own homes as they grow older. In fact, some statistics indicate more than three-quarters of older adults prefer to age in place over other lifestyle options. However, seniors are wise enough to define that within their needs, and thanks to their creative problem solving, there are a handful of attractive solutions available.

Look for Less

One of the primary choices for seniors is to downsize. By moving to a smaller, low-maintenance home, they lighten their burdens in terms of finances and workload.

A well-planned downsize can cut expenses in virtually all respects. A smaller house usually equates to reduced utilities, fewer belongings, lower home maintenance costs, reduced property taxes, lower insurance premiums, and so forth. If you’re fortunate enough to own your current home outright, you might even be able to make your purchase with cash.

It’s also important to familiarize yourself with the current market and trends. Look at what area houses are selling for, and compare that with your home’s approximate value. Different neighborhoods and home features can greatly influence sales and pricing, as well as how long a home sits on the market. By learning more about what’s happening, you’ll have a better feel for what to expect.

On top of the financial advantages that can come with a downsize, BobVila.com points out that selecting your next house with particular features can also make it virtually maintenance-free. A metal roof, vinyl siding, composite lumber decking, and similar selections can cut your workload, and the related costs, to nil. As you grow older, it’s easy to see how this could be a big plus.

Home, Safe Home

Whether you elect to stay in your current home or downsize, certain house designs and modifications can make aging in place easier, and should, therefore, weigh into your decision. Consider characteristics that promote independence and accessibility, and if a house lacks those features, you should budget to add them either now or later.

As an example, an entryway that is well-lit offers even footing, and no stairs is ideal. Even if you never need assistive equipment, adding a ramp can be a boon since it helps facilitate coming and going if you’re toting packages or even a grandbaby. Grab bars in the bathroom can also be a help, as balance and flexibility can wane with age. Think through the changes older bodies often go through and look for a house that will keep you comfortable.


Day-to-Day Help

If you have a health or mobility concern, one of the options you might be weighing is an assisted living community. Assisted living can be especially important if you’re someone who struggles with activities of daily living. This includes things like feeding yourself, using the toilet, or dressing. In an assisted living facility, there is staff to help you through your challenging tasks, but you still maintain an independent lifestyle, coming and going as you please.

Assisted living communities vary widely, both in terms of amenities and costs. According to Retirement Living, the average cost for a senior living in an assisted living community is $3,700 per month. These facilities offer things like laundry service, transportation, planned group activities and outings, and seniors can often choose between studio apartment-style arrangements and having a roommate.

Seniors have several attractive lifestyle choices to consider. Three of the biggest options are to downsize, modify your current home, or move to an assisted living community. The key is to make a choice that will be safe and comfortable, both now and in the future.


Harry Clinehttp://newcaregiver.org/contact/The New Caregiver’s Comprehensive Resource: Advice, Tips, and Solutions from Around the Web

Affordable Independent Living Options for Low-Income Seniors – Aug 22, 2019 – Joyful Eclectic Woman

 

Preparing for Senior Living – Sep 21, 2020 – Your Life of Palm Beach Gardens

What does it feel like to be old and alone? – Nov 3, 2015 – Channel 4 News


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