13 Tips for Relocating Elderly Parents
Relocating can be hard, especially for people who may not quite feel ready. Moving can also be physically and emotionally exhausting. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make the process of relocating your parents a smooth and compassionate experience for everyone.
1. Keep lines of communication open
An open and honest discussion is the essential first step when it comes to relocating your parents. Family meetings can help you, your parents, your siblings and other people who play key roles in your parents’ lives share their views on relocation. While these discussions can be emotional and difficult at times, open communication can help your family resolve differences and realize common goals.
Some important topics of discussion might include:
- Types of residential options
- The levels of care that your parents need
- Each person’s role in the move
- Changes in lifestyle for your parents and for the rest of your family
- The location of the new residence
2. Let your parents drive the discussion
Giving your parents control over their destiny helps them feel like less of a burden, which is very important. Research shows that parents do not want to be a burden or to complicate the lives of their already-busy adult children.
3. Determine what level of care your parents need
A few years ago, nursing homes were the only alternatives to living independently. Today’s adults have more choices in living accommodations than ever before – retirement communities can provide several levels of care and a wide variety of services and amenities. An assisted living community may be the right choice if your parent needs a little help with one or two activities of daily living – such as bathing, dressing, eating and toileting – but does not require intensive medical treatments or nursing care. A memory care community, also known as Alzheimer’s care or dementia care, may be the perfect location if your parent has memory issues.
4. Recognize the challenges of relocation
Relocation is physically, mentally and emotionally stressful for everyone involved, but especially for your parents. Give your parents the space and time to voice their concerns about relocation and avoid minimizing or dismissing their apprehensions. Help your parents find resolutions to their concerns and engage in stress-relieving activities together as a family.
5. Highlight the benefits of relocation
Moving can be difficult, but relocation can also provide many rewards. Relocating to an assisted living community can save money, increase safety, bring your parents geographically closer to the rest of your family, and generally make life easier. Talk to your parents to determine which benefits appeal to them and remind them of these benefits when the going gets tough.
6. Allow plenty of time
While your family must make some decisions quickly, especially when there is a medical situation, try to avoid rushing your parents into a decision. It takes time to adjust to the idea of finding a new place to live and relocation requires a considerable amount of planning and decision-making.
7. Discuss assisted living costs
While budget isn’t the only issue, it is certainly an important one. Calculating the cost of living in assisted living apartments or in a memory care community early in the relocation process will enable you to narrow your search more effectively. Estimating nursing home or assisted living costs is often easier than calculating in-home care costs, as nursing home and assisted living costs remain stable over time, whereas in-home care costs can fluctuate according to your parents’ health needs.
8. Plan effectively
Consider several factors when choosing an assisted living home or memory care community. Find out if the assisted living community is located near medical care, shopping, restaurants and parks. Many assisted living communities offer group transportation to nearby venues and activities, and proximity can make a big difference in entertainment options.
9. Ask about services and amenities
Consider the services and amenities your parents could enjoy in their new home. When possible, take your time when scouting memory care and assisted living communities. Determine which assisted living services, such as assistance with bathing and dressing, are available. Learn if the community offers 24-hour health monitoring and 24-hour security, emergency response systems, housekeeping, laundry and linen services, scheduled transportation, and fitness or wellness programs. Find out if memory care communities offer programs that are scientifically based and specially designed to improve engagement, cognition and well-being for those with memory issues. Also, many assisted living communities are pet friendly, so parents can bring furry members of the family along, too.
10. Make it a family (and friend!) affair
Develop a support team by enlisting the help of family, friends and neighbors. Ask trusted individuals about memory care and assisted living apartments in the area, for example, and sign up able-bodied people to help move furniture. Spreading the work across several volunteers lightens the load for everyone – and it gives your parents an opportunity to interact with others.
11. Sort and organize
Relocation usually involves downsizing, which means you and your support team will sort through all the items in your parents’ home. Organize the items into categories, such as:
- Bring to the new residence
- Give to friends or family
- Donate to charity
- Throw away
Use the “touch it once” rule when sorting items – in other words, make a firm decision about every item you encounter.
12. Plan the moving day
Make moving day go smoothly by scheduling volunteers, assigning jobs, mapping out directions and planning meal breaks.
13. Make plans for immediately after moving day
Make plans to visit your parents right away, and encourage friends, family and neighbors to do the same. Planned visits can make relocation seem less lonely and stressful. For best results, ask your parents to show you around their new location – the responsibility of giving you a tour will encourage your parents to explore their new surroundings.
For more information on relocating elderly parents, contact Presidential Place in Hollywood, Florida. We have more tips and tricks to make relocation easier (and more fun!).