An expert in the care of the elderly has suggested that older people should not wait until they are infirm to move into a home. Anna Dixon, chief executive of the Centre for Ageing Better, has suggested that making the transition while still fit and able is better for pensioners in the long-run.
She noted that most older people wait until crisis point before they move into specialist accommodation, as they don’t want to pay for the facilities before they need them. The problem with this approach is that it is more stressful and takes longer for them to settle in.
Ms Dixon told the Daily Mail: “[We need to] create opportunities to move potentially into more adaptable mainstream housing when people are younger, fitter and able, that they can stay in for 20-plus years and when their needs change they can then access the care.”
This point of view was backed up by Tamara Finkelstein, the government’s care tsar, who said people should be making plans earlier in life. She added that issues, such as care and pensions should be considered well before they become a pressing issue.
Research over the years has shown that if people move into retirement accommodation before their health deteriorates, they are more likely to live longer. Among the benefits is being in an environment that is supportive to their needs.
Many elderly people are resistant to the idea, however, as the majority prefer to stay in the homes they have lived in with their loved ones for as long as possible. Broaching the subject with family could be a good idea, however, as it is something that some people may not have considered.
If a pensioner moves into retirement accommodation earlier, they have the chance to get used to their surroundings and explore them thoroughly. They can get to know the staff and stay as independent as possible up to a time when their activity levels lessen.
They will also have the opportunity to form friendships that could put them in good stead later in their lives. Moving house in undoubtedly stressful, but it can be easier to deal with if people do not have complicated age-related health issues as well.