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Carrots and Sticks

Mon, 03/03/2014 - 15:10 - Charmian Boyd


“We have lived here 60 years and moved into the house when we were first married”. No wonder it is hard for our older clients to come to terms with moving home.  How do we suggest that clients can get over the emotional hurdle of a making a decision to move?  There is a push me pull me factor – (I am sure there is some fancy name for this).  I think of it as carrot and stick.  The stick means you have to move because, for example, you are frail and prone to falls, or you have a great house but can’t afford and don’t feel able to maintain it, or physically getting up and downstairs is impossible and a stair lift can’t be fitted.  These kind of problems are quite defined and can be good reason to move.


But sometimes the sticks are just a collection of twigs – an accumulation of small everyday difficulties – maybe not finding cooking and cleaning easy, a growing loneliness or concern over safety.  Acknowledging and accepting that these very real issues, however seemingly small, can be addressed, is the way to feel emotionally stronger about a decision.


The carrot is about looking forward and really imagining life in a new place.  What will it mean?  New friends and activities, less money worries, more security, care on hand and much more.  Just having regular meals available means most people begin to feel physically healthier.  You really need to think what are the benefits?  Maybe imagining you are helping another relative - what would you say?


There are also good ways to experience a different life, so that making that emotional leap is easier.  Those contemplating a life in a retirement or care setting should “try before they buy”.  Most organisations offer a week or more to stay and try a place out – respite care or similar.  Some have guest suites that can be rented on a sort term basis.  At the very least having meals and attending social functions is a great way to see if you can see yourself fitting in and having a better life.  The couple with the 60 year old marriage are just having a look and there is a gleam in the wife’ eye – no more shopping, cooking and relying on her husband (still driving - hmm) to negotiate his way round the multi storey car park nightmare.


So I suggest that you are honest about the sticks and positive about the carrots!  Enjoy the vegetables!