My friend May is 78 and has been living alone since her husband passed away a year ago. She’s in pretty good shape and wants to remain in the house that’s been a home to her for almost 40 years. She told me that she was worried her children would want to put her in a retirement home so she decided to be pro-active. She wanted to ease their minds so she made a list of problems that could face her as she aged and how she would handle them. The following is her list:
Home maintenance: keep a list of phone numbers for laundry, shopping, gardening, housekeeping and handyman services if and when they are needed.
Transportation: There is a taxi service in our town that is not too costly and, since I don’t drive at night anymore, I can call them for that. If I decide at some point that I no longer feel confident to drive at all I will call them or friends when needed
Home modifications: I’ve already turned the den into my bedroom and I live on the first floor. I‘ve had the tub taken out of the bathroom and installed a shower with grab bars. I have few steps outside but will have a ramp put in if I need one.
Personal needs: If I ever need care in dressing, bathing or meal preparations I have the phone # of an agency that handles all these issues and comes highly recommended by a good friend.
Medical: Keep a list of the meds I take and when I take them. Keep a yearly calendar and put down Dr. appt’s, etc. Contact my insurance and see what coverage is available for at-home health care services.
Social needs: We have a Senior Citizens Center that provides social gatherings and projects. In addition we have a bus service for seniors that comes right by my house and they take us to the Center as well as to the movie theater and shopping center. I stay in touch with a large group of friends so I don’t fear being isolated.
This was the list that May gave to her children and it was very effective. It helped them realize that she is serious about staying in her home. Since I want to do the same thing it meant a lot to me and I have a feeling there are many of you out there that feel the same way. Do you have any additional items to add to her list? I’d love to hear about them.