The Reality of “Rightsizing”
There are times when “Downsizing or Rightsizing” becomes a must and not an option. Sadly, the topic is often controversial with the person needing to “Rightsize”. The process means a lack of independence, and many will fight any suggestion to move to a more accommodating living space.
We live in a City where there are very few spaces, other than apartments, that can allow one to live on one floor. Bungalows only exist in certain areas and those are still mostly accessible by climbing stairs. Staying in your home also means having to maintain gardens, snow removal, and routine maintenance.
My guiding rule when I counsel clients needing to move is “Is this the safest place for you to live?”
In Ontario we have community care access workers who can help you and your family make these decisions. They are trained professionals who can help you function in your own home for as long as possible and provide the guidance needed when it is time to leave. Sadly…most of us have a tendency to fight and rage against change and family becomes the target for that rage.
Until she passed a few years ago, my brother and I became the target of my Mom’s frustration as her independence diminished. We took different tactics: My brother was the realist and would point-blank tell my mom that she was in no physical shape to fly from Toronto to Edmonton for a Family event. That approach set my mom off in a rage…she was not interested in dealing with a point-blank “NO”.
My approach, wanting to avoid the argument, was to say that “YES”, I would take her from Toronto to Edmonton. Yes, we would have to drive out to the Airport. Yes, we would have to wait in a waiting room for at least an hour at the Airport. Yes, we would have to sit on the Airplane for almost four and a half hours. Yes, we would…At this point my mom would look at me, laugh and say…”I know that I can’t go…I just like to talk about it”. That would be the end of the discussion.
Restricting independence is a huge issue for everyone. However, staying in a home that is unsafe is worse.
Rather than telling someone, they can no longer live in their own home you might try to asking how they would manage if something unforeseen happened. Go through the scenario as I did and if they still are firm, then you must do everything you can to make the home safe.
Sometimes though you must make a unilateral decision in the interest of safety…if so, best of luck. That can be one of the most lonely and painful decisions you will ever make.
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