When it comes time to move a parent it can be stressful, whether moving to independent living, assisted living or any type of senior facility. It’s a time filled with great emotion when they may be missing their younger days of great independence and the home they have grown accustomed to. Things like fear of aging, being alone and the prospect of not having friends can be taxing on not just your senior parent, but on you as well.
As a child, emotions of feeling you have failed your parent will kick in and guilt becomes an inevitable reaction. It’s a natural human emotion that won’t last forever. Honestly, the last thing you want to do is move a parent who essentially doesn’t need to be moved just yet, but having a plan in place is crucial and can ease a lot of worries for everyone if you do your homework. You may even be surprised to find that mom or dad are excited for the forthcoming change and looking forward to a new surroundings. Regardless of the situation, a plan for the immediate or near future will take the edge off.
Before making the decision be sure to assess what the needs are. Is your senior parent able to easily get around? Are there any daily things they need help with? Are they at risk of falling and not having someone nearby to help? Pre-determining answers to these hard, but necessary, questions is crucial.
Plan in Advance
Be sure to discuss options with your parents what they would like to have readily available in their new home. Include them in the process and certainly don’t rush into a decision. It will take some time for them to come to grips with the idea of a new home so include them in the conversations and go over the options with them.
Prepare Their New Home
No one likes to move; it’s a process and a chore that takes a lot of patience and time. For elderly parents it could be twice as taxing. Throughout the process be sure to show them pictures and floorplans of their new community, do drop-ins at their new senior living home so they can see beforehand what the community is like and the activities taking place at all different times of the week. It will help them feel excited about the change in advance of the move.
Ask for Help
Don’t take on the task alone and certainly don’t be afraid to ask for help. Engage the help of family and friends to pitch in with the move. Delegating tasks like packing, unpacking, arranging utility disconnections or staying with your elderly parent while these tasks are being completed can be a huge help.
Hire Professional Moving Help
Getting extra hands from helping family and friends is great. While that takes a big load off from the stress of moving, consider also incorporating professional companies to assist as well. It will be money well spent. Services like senior living relocators and moving companies to carry the real heavy loads will ease a lot of stress and make the move that much easier, freeing you up to handle what is most important.
Downsize Their Stuff
A move for anyone is the perfect time to let go of some of those things that they have been holding onto for years and years. Take the time to go through things they just don’t need anymore. Donate items to local charity organizations that can’t be reused and discard the rest. Consider incorporating assistance of a professional organizer who can be really creative with downsizing things like taking photo albums and making them digital. When going through their items, ask these five important questions:
- Does this bring back happy memories?
- Does this add value?
- Is this useful?
- Will I use this?
- Will getting rid of this create stress?
If the answer is no to 3 or more then donate the item.
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Jenn Heller is the Operations Manager for The Volen Group, Keller Williams Luxury International, licensed real estate agent since 2004 and writer for the Ponte Vedra Focus Blog. She is an Atlantic Beach resident via Long Island, NY since 1991, a book worm, and loves sports, dogs and the beach.