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Staying home might require some giving up

Ask Bob

Ask Bob

May 28, 2009|By BOB POOR

Q: My wife and I are 80 and living at home. We are both physically well; mentally, we are "tweeners." My wife thinks we should be planning for when we will need to move on to some kind of assisted living. I would prefer to live here in my own home. Any thoughts?

A: By "tweeners," I am guessing that you mean you are somewhere between staying put and thinking about downsizing or moving to an independent-living facility.

More and more senior Americans are sharing in your concern. Especially as we are living longer, costs of health care continue to rise and the recession takes its toll on all of us.

If you really want to continue living in your home as long as you can, you should develop a plan to deal with challenges that are in your future.

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For example, who will mow the lawn when you no longer can or want to follow the mower all over your half-acre every week, spring and summer? Or, maybe it will be the spring and fall yard clean-up and trip to the dump that becomes more than you want to tackle yourselves.

For many of us, it is a battle thinking about having to "give up" because of aging ... having to give up and let someone else do it for us. It really is an attitude thing.

Funny, we really didn't have any trouble relinquishing the trash disposal to trash pickup service.

So, if we really want to continue living in our home, we need to accept that there will come a day when we will have to let someone peel our fingers off the mower handle and take over the lawn care. Start checking around now to line up your choice of lawn-care services and determine your costs for it.

Once we become willing to accept the inevitable, we can get busy planning our strategies for adjusting as necessary in order to live in the home as long as we are able. There is plenty of help at the library and on the Internet for making your home safer, and for adapting it to any disabilities family members might have or develop in the future.

While you are at it, you might just visit the Commission on Aging -- or call them at 301-790-0275 -- to determine what services they offer and the ones for which you qualify. Their assistance includes programs such as home repair, income tax assistance, legal services, Meals on Wheels, personal accounting programs, a senior center and a senior care program. For a complete listing, visit www.wccoaging.org/pVisitation.aspx

So, whether you consider yourself a "tweener" or a "pre-tweener," it is not too early to start putting your long-term housing plans together.

Hagerstown resident Robert A. "Bob" Poor is a member of the Society of Senior Advisers and provides senior professional services for reverse mortgages and personal insurance. He also is a member of the Senior Referral Center of Hagerstown.

Questions are welcomed at r.poor@myactv.net or by mail c/o The Herald-Mail, P.O. Box 439, Hagerstown, MD 21741, ATTN: Robert A. Poor column.

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