How To Help Your Elderly Parents Move
Hanna KielarNovember 27, 2019
Moving elderly parents out of their home can be a difficult situation. Whether due to medical concerns, their inability to maintain the home, moving to be closer to family members, or because your parents need assisted living services, having open and honest conversations will help all involved.
The question is – how do you start and continue such emotional conversations with your parents and other family members? The answer isn’t going to be easy, but here are some questions to think through as you’re preparing to talk with your elderly parents.
How Do You Move An Elderly Person?
If you have siblings or other family members who will be affected by moving your elderly parents out of their home, it could be a good idea to talk through everyone’s feelings first. That way, everyone involved can share their thoughts and give suggestions on how best to move forward. It’s also helpful so that you’re all on the same page when approaching your parents.
The sooner you have these conversations the better, as these types of discussions can be complex and draining. Plus, there are no hard and fast rules as to what you should do – after all, your parents should be involved in the process.
Once you and your family members are on the same page, it’s time to approach your parents. Here are a few topics you should cover:
● The level of care required
● Each family member’s role in the move or transition
● Where your parents will live
● Pros and cons of all possible living arrangements
● Financials (e.g. how parents will pay for long-term care, whether you’ll need to pitch in, etc.)
● How your parents feel about possible changes in lifestyle
● Dynamics if parents move in with a family member
● Whether a family member(s) needs to take time off work (or quit altogether) to care for elderly parents
In these types of conversations, expectations should be defined and made clear to all who are involved. In some cases, it may be helpful to bring a mediator to guide the conversation, or an objective third-party person to help. This can be especially useful if conversations get heated and appear to go around in circles.
Should Your Aging Parent Move In With You?
Living with elderly parents is one option. While you can keep an eye on your parents, keep in mind that if you live farther away from other family members, this arrangement can be frustrating to those who may want the opportunity to be more involved. Or, you could start feeling like you have the burden of handling all the responsibilities since your parents are within your living quarters.
Again, here’s where open conversations will help. This includes being honest with yourself about whether you can manage the emotional and financial responsibilities of living under the same roof as your parents. Discussion points can include airing any past grievances, delegating responsibilities to all family members, what type of financial help your parents need (if any) and how they can maintain a sense of autonomy even under your roof.
Before deciding, talk about other types of living arrangements. These include:
● Retirement communities
● Assisted living facilities
● A smaller home (or apartment) on their own
● Intermediate care facility
● Skilled nursing facility
● Veterans' communities
Of course, there are cases when it’s not safe or feasible for your parents to live anywhere but with some sort of supervised care. In this case, you want to be sensitive to their needs so that you don’t seem like you’re moving them against their will.
How Do You Move A Parent With Dementia To Assisted Living?
Moving a parent with dementia, Alzheimer’s or another condition where they may need around-the-clock care can be even more of a sensitive situation. The conversation can be more emotional for the parents themselves, who have to come to terms with their declining health.
Once your parents understand to the best of their ability and agree (unless they’re not of sound mind, then you may need to make the decision for them), it’s time to do some thorough planning. Since this could be out of your wheelhouse, it’s probably a good idea to consult with a geriatric care manager or social worker who can walk you through your options, including the financials involved.
How Can I Help My Aging Parents Downsize?
Once you and your parents agree on living arrangements, it’s time to prepare for the move. This is the time to map out an approximate timeline on different milestones such as downsizing, packing and the actual move.
You want to involve the whole family to ensure everyone feels like they’re pitching in. When downsizing, everyone can get involved, whether it’s to provide emotional support when getting rid of items, guarding keepsakes or holding a yard sale. It’s also a good idea for your parents to understand how much space they have in their new place so they can estimate how many items they can take with them.
After the move is over, give everyone time to settle in and for your parents to get used to their new routine. Your parents may want you to spend more time with them during this transition, especially if they moved far away. Your presence can be a source of comfort during this major transition in their lives.