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  • Writer's pictureKersten Bowman

Tips for Senior Caregivers on Navigating the Distance (and When to Close the Gap)

There are millions upon millions of caregivers in the United States. Ideally, as a caregiver, you already live a quick drive to your loved one. But, this isn’t always the case. If you are starting to notice signs of decline, you may be wondering if it’s time to close the distance gap. And, if so, what are the steps to get started? Below, Kersten Reed Bowman presents some quick tips to keep in mind as you navigate this rocky road.

Health & Happiness

Your first consideration with a senior loved one is always their health, safety, and happiness. If you notice signs that their mental or physical health is declining, it may be time to make a decision. Things to look out for include:

  • Poor hygiene

  • Worsening mobility

  • Inability to drive

  • Bills going unpaid

  • Depression

Further, seniors on an extremely limited income may have to make decisions between things like food and medicine. This can cause or exacerbate depression and other mental illnesses. If your senior has recently experienced a sharp decline in their available funds, it might be best to check in on them to see if there are ways to lessen their financial burden.

Here or There?

Once you’ve made the decision that your senior loved one needs more hands-on care, you’ll have to decide whether to move closer to them or bring them to you. In either circumstance, the vast majority of seniors may wind up in an assisted living or nursing-care facility. According to Consumer Affairs, this cost an average of $4,300 per month.

Paying for senior care starts with knowing how much money they have to work with. In many cases, this means selling their home and then hosting an estate sale to extract the maximum value possible from their possessions. Do some online research into the local market to see what your loved one can expect to receive from their home. Then, work with a local real estate agent like Kersten Reed Bowman who can help with the home sale.

If you must sell your senior loved one’s home (or if you choose to keep it for rental income to help pay for their care), you’ll want to ensure the property is in as good a shape as possible. Plan to bring in a few professionals to get the job done. This might include a flooring company, home stager, and general contractor. Keep in mind that, regardless of the type of job they perform, you’ll want to make sure that your contractor is licensed and has plenty of referrals. You will also need to factor in repair expenses into your loved one’s budget. One example: a broken window with an air leak. You’ll spend around $290 each to have them fixed, but this is just one of many repairs that can’t go undone if you plan to rent or sell the home.

Making the Move

When you have not spoken to your senior loved one about either moving closer to them, moving them closer to you, or moving into a senior care facility, time is not on your side. According to the Laureate Group Senior Communities, talking with your aging loved one means being open and honest. You’ll need to address their concerns but also make sure that they acknowledge yours. The sooner you open up the conversation, the better.

This is not a definitive guide to knowing when and how to make the decision to move your senior loved one. This process is intimate and personal, and only you and your loved one can decide when the time is right. But, the advice above, including watching out for their health and safety and maximizing profits from their current home to pay for their care, are a few great tips that can help you get through this emotional time with your relationship intact.


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