There are many reasons to consider moving as you get older. 

Your current home may be too big or too expensive to maintain; you might be having a harder time with stairs. Maybe you would like to have the cash proceeds from selling to make day-to-day life easier.

But it can be a difficult decision to leave a home you love and move to an unfamiliar setting, even if it’s a better fit for your lifestyle.

Cold Lake and District Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) is offering a two-part series on relocating and aging in place. The first online session, “Making Tough Decisions – Do I Stay Or Do I Move?” is Tuesday, February 22.

The facilitator is Jalyn Hall, a certified relocation and transition specialist.

“She has her own company called Edmonton 55, and she has worked with seniors for most of her life,” said FCSS social programs coordinator Brenda Parsons. “We’ll talk about all the different factors that you need to weigh in deciding whether you should stay in your home or  move somewhere else.

“It’s just a good look at how to how to make that decision as the best for you at that point in your life.”

There are 40 places available for the free sessions. Anyone over the age of 18 in the Cold Lake and District FCSS’s service area (the City of Cold Lake, and Wards 5 and 6 of the M.D. of Bonnyville) is eligible to register.

Parsons says it’s perfect for those already considering their future, but it never hurts to plan ahead.

“It’s great for people that are coming up to an age where they’re going to end up making that decision. So over 65, 70, 75, whatever that age might be,” she said. “I’m very interested in this for myself  because I want to look at when in the future should I start to make this plan, and what are some ideas I can take back to my mother who’s still in her own home?

“So it’s great for any age, especially if you have aging parents or aging relatives, or if you’re a caregiver of any sort, or for your own peace of mind for later on in your own life.”

In March, Hall will present a session on making an aging-in-place plan. Again, Parsons said it is suitable for older people who need to make decisions sooner rather than later, as well as for those who are looking farther ahead.

The sessions are part of the FCSS’s broad community service mandate.

“Our mandate is preventative in nature,” Parsons said. “I’m looking at how we can help people to stay an active, healthy part of their community whether that’s children and parents and caregivers or seniors. And it’s all about preventing the things that that might be barriers to being a healthy part of your community.”

The challenges of Covid-19 have resulted in more virtual or online sessions, but there is an advantage to that. “We’re able to get all these great facilitators from all over the place because we can do it virtually now, and people are okay with it,” Parsons said. 

Having Hall offer her expertise from Edmonton, she said, is a valuable asset for Cold Lake-area seniors.

“It’s a huge part of it is being in control of your own life instead of just letting things happen and then having to make a decision off the cuff, and then not being able to make those decisions as you wanted,” she said.

The online information is one of several services the FCSS offers for area seniors.

“We do a lot of forms work, helping seniors apply for all the seniors benefits and making sure that they have those,” Parsons said. “We have the volunteer income tax program as well, a lot of seniors take advantage of it. That makes sure that they can get all those great benefits that they are entitled to that they’ve paid into. We make referrals to other agencies, help them find those other agencies, those types of things. And then we offer a lot of great courses and such for seniors.”

To register, or for more information on Cold Lake and District FCSS programming, call (780) 594-4495.