Covered Bridge

Tough Conversations Are Key

Did you ever notice how much stuff you have packed in your house? It seems to have a life of its own (along with its own anxieties that the clutter of it all causes, but that’s a whole OTHER article for another time). There was a point where I thought, “If I bring one more thing home, something will pop out of an upstairs window.”

The thought of moving with all these treasures in tow is daunting. Imagine if you had to do so without notice or against your wishes. That would be a nightmare.

Sadly, some of our older friends and family members find themselves in that situation. They need to transition suddenly from independent living to a group or assisted-living facility, whether the move is short-term or permanent. Then there is the other side of the coin where maybe there’s a recent diagnosis and someone knows they need to get things together, organized and planned out for a positive transition in the future, and the whole task just seems incredibly overwhelming.

No matter which side of the coin one finds themselves on, it all just seems like there is a very tough situation ahead. But talking about it, formulating a plan, facing the task(s) and maybe even getting professional help ahead of time could save a lot of pain later on or in the immediate future.

When it comes to safety, there are some early signs that it is time to talk about moving options. Having trouble getting dressed or not being able to make food are a couple of warnings that a change is in order. Sudden changes in behavior or severe forgetfulness are more alarming and require fast action to protect your loved one.

The most important aspect of all this change and preparation is making sure your wishes are known ahead of time. Should certain family members get some of your family heirloom items if you’re needing to move? Is there a room that you need to get cleaned out and you need the space and understanding from family members to really to absorb the task, journey through the memories of the items and part ways (or keep and properly store)? All of those things need to be communicated, even if those conversations (especially boundary-reinforcement conversations) are difficult.

When in doubt, remember that there may be caregiver support meetings or support groups around other topics related to aging that you can join. If there isn’t, maybe it would be smart to start one (even if it’s just with one other person) because it really is true that “it takes a village,” especially as someone ages and transitions through life’s journeys. You don’t have go through it alone.

There you have it. It wouldn’t hurt for all of us to plan for the future. Simplifying our lives and possessions as we go along is probably the best plan. I intend to clean out and reorganize my storage room now that the weather is getting warmer. Wish me luck tackling those treasures.

At Reid Health Alliance, our team is here to partner with you and help the members of the communities we serve together. For us, it’s all about helping community members make sure they have the information they need every step of the way as they navigate through the healthcare coverage system and life in general.

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