If death and taxes are the only certainties we face, we must surely then live our lives constantly second guessing everything we do, want to do or think we want to do. So, how do we cope with one of the biggest uncertainties in our later lives? Do we age in place in the family home or do we move into an aged care facility?
Your family home is quiet.
In fact it’s almost too quiet these days.
Where there used to be noise coming from every room in the house, the house is now filled with the sound of silence.
There isn’t as much to do either. Where you would have been rushing around picking up, tidying up, cooking meals, doing the laundry, making beds and generally wondering if you were ever going to get a sit down – now that’s all you seem to do. Washing up a single place setting takes no time and a single load of washing a couple of times a week is hardly taxing.
It’s not easy getting out and about either. You’ve gotten to the point where the car had to go and sometimes you can’t be bothered to catch the bus into town.
- Should you read?
- Should you get out some long forgotten craft project you discovered in the back of the cupboard?
- Should you go out? Or
- Should you put the TV on and watch some mindless show?
Mindless! It seems life has become altogether lacking any kind of purpose, rattling around a house only you and perhaps the odd spider now call home.
It has become a common picture amongst our elders unfortunately. Children leave home and have families of their own, and our partners are no longer with us. One lady told us that her husband of 51 years had to go into care because he had developed Alzheimer’s. She said while it had taken her just a week to get used to sleeping in the bed alone, she missed the company. But it was the thought that if something happened to her, there would be no immediate help available that had become the biggest driver to her decision to move into the aged care facility herself.
It hadn’t been an easy decision to make. She loved her home, but she knew what could happen if she had a fall or was incapacitated in some way. And that wasn’t how she wanted to end her days.
A house full of memories:
Once that decision had been made, the next phase began with the slow dispersal of a lifetime of memories.
The heirlooms were passed on. Family members were invited to take what they wanted from the house. But it still left a lot of stuff to get rid of.
Important papers: Getting the legal stuff sorted:
It can take time to get paperwork sorted so it’s better to start early than wait until the last minute. Having a will is important, but for this family they also needed Enduring Powers of Attorney and Guardianship. In this particular case, the EPA was essential as the family were selling the house on behalf of their seniors, one of whom could no longer communicate due to the illness.
Massive change can be stressful:
Moving into retirement living or an aged care facility means letting go of a lot of stuff. It’s as if we are turning full circle. We start out in a single room in our parents’ house. Then we move out and into our own place. We move in with someone and perhaps buy something bigger. Maybe have children and move into something else to accommodate the increasing number of people and their possessions. Then people start to leave. We make the decision to sell the house; we downsize and then complete the ultimate in downsizing and move back into a couple of rooms.
We’ve come full circle and we are left with memories and just a few things that really matter to us.
The rest has gone and we know that sooner or later we will be too.
But it’s time to change.
No more sitting inside watching the television, there’s activities to entertain and occupy us. We’ve new friends to make, and with someone else doing the driving, we can re-gain our independence.
There is perhaps one more certainty in life.
For as long as we have left, we definitely have new memories to make.