The Bekins Blog
A Stress-Free Guide to Moving Elderly Parents
As your parents grow older, you may see them begin to struggle living day-to-day. Perhaps they have begun to miss bill payments or have fallen and broken a hip. They may need increased care after developing Alzheimer’s or dementia. At some point, you will need to move them into a safer living environment.
Where will they live? Initially you may consider your home. However, this decision is a major life choice and deserves some serious discussion from you, them, and the rest of your family. Here are some simple things you can do to make the moving process easier:
Coming to the Same Conclusion
Your parents may feel emotionally connected to their home. Expect apprehension when you first bring up moving. They will need time to ponder and accept the idea. Many times seniors feel that moving means losing control of their lives. To help them transition, explain that their opinion matters and that they have a say in where they live. Giving them time to come to the same conclusion as you will help them feel more confident and less distressed.
Talk with your parents at a family meeting with their loved ones. This will give everyone the opportunity to share his or her opinions and views. Active communication in the family will also build a better support system for your parents.
Deciding on Living Arrangements
During this meeting, discuss the level of care your parents will need in their new home. They may require constant supervision and assistance with daily living activities. Most of the time,
senior’s care becomes more challenging over time. Consider speaking with a social worker for advice. They can provide valuable suggestions and insight on required care and living arrangements.
The housing situation you choose for your parents will depend on needed care, available facilities, location, and finances.
Create a list of pros and cons for each housing option in your area. Include the distance to relatives as this may cause concern among siblings. Often, family members who live closer have more opportunities to get involved with parents’ care. It’s essential to create an open dialogue with your family and come to an agreement on living conditions.
Understand that your parents have the final say during the decision-making. After all, the living arrangement will ultimately affect them the most.
Before you all decide on a living arrangement, visit the facility. This will help your parents get a feel for the environment, which may play a role into their decision. Take notes on how the employees interact with residents, what activities they provide, and transportation arrangements. You can also research online reviews from past guests.
Most seniors have lived in their homes for many years, which means they have a lot of stuff to sort through. Before you start to pack, go through your parents’ home and organize their belongings. Organize possessions into piles you’re keeping, donating, throwing away, and preserving as keepsakes.
Keep in mind the emotional state of your parents as you go through their things. Allow them time to decide which pile to put their belongings in and reminisce as you sort. Their possessions are more than objects-they’re memories.
As you organize, picture where possessions will go in their new house. How much room do they have? Where will the furniture go? Create a model of the home on paper to help you envision what their new living arrangement will look like.
Hiring a Moving Company
Booking a moving company will help ease the stress on you and your parents. In fact, your parents may feel more comfortable talking with a subjective third party than speaking with their children. Moving companies who specialize in moving seniors will offer comfort to the family. They also take on the burden of lifting heavy objects and ultimately make the process smoother for everyone.
You may want to consider having them pack belongings. They have the tools and knowledge to ensure valuables remain intact.
This allows you to focus on your parents as they transition to their new home.
Even if you hire a moving company, you will still need to clean the home. Whether you plan to rent, sell, or pass the home to a relative, have the entire family come and help. Also, repair any damages now to avoid the problems getting worse. These repairs will prevent renters or new owners from claiming fake damages.
Your parents may need days, weeks, or months to adjust to the new living arrangements. Check in with them often to make sure they feel safe and comfortable. Every person reacts to moving differently. Some feel relief from not having to take of their home. Others feel hesitant to make friends. Most will feel some loss from the life change. Give your parents plenty of family support during this stage. Who knows, they may end up saying, “Why didn’t I do this a long time ago?”
Take the moving process slowly to ensure you and your parents have a smooth transition.