How to Make Moving a Parent That Much Easier
Moving a parent is never easy.
Before you even experience the stress of the move, there’s reluctance and resistance. There’s a niggling feeling that you’re not doing the right thing. And there’s also a lifetime of belongings to sort.
Overwhelming doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.
We’re here to tell you, moving a parent takes time, patience, and empathy.
But moving mom or dad to assisted living, downsizing to a smaller home, or going into long-term care will improve their life experiences in old age.
We’ve compiled expert advice to help make moving a parent that much easier. Follow along for tips like how to approach conversations about moving, organizing their belongings for moving day, and how you can help your parents adjust to a new living arrangement.
How Can You Approach Conversations About Moving with Your Elderly Parents?
Plant the Seed Early
Most adult children move their parents to assisted living after an accident or crisis. And many families avoid the discussion for too long.
AgingCare suggests you make plans an ongoing conversation.
While there are 28,900 assisted living communities in the U.S., most residents only spend an average of 22 months there before transferring to a higher level of care. That’s not to say, you couldn’t stay there longer.
Prepare by planning the seed with light-hearted humor. Like joking it’s time for a move after they forget something unimportant. Give it time, and your parent will start to consider and accept a move is in their future.
Weigh Up Options for Moving an Elderly Parent
While you can have conversations often, use positive language when suggesting a move, especially if you’re considering assisted living.
Phrases like community and condo are better used instead of the more rigid, facility and room.
Put a positive spin on a move. Highlight activities and social opportunities a move to assisted living will offer, opposed to a focus on increased personal care.
You may encourage your parent to move for a more comfortable experience because of common reasons like mobility issues and medication management. But it’s best to outline pros of the lifestyle change, whether downsizing to a bungalow or moving into an assisted living community.
According to Forbes, logic doesn’t often work to convince your parent a move is right for them.
If the advantages aren’t convincing mom, then use emotional triggers. You could say ‘I worry too much’ to get them to see the upside of a move. After all, no parent wants to be a burden to their adult children.
How Can You Organize Your Parents Belongings for Downsizing Home?
Prepare for Moving Early with an Action Plan
Most people dread moving. You’re not alone. But those feelings often come from the overwhelming task to organize and get rid of your possessions.
Especially for elderly parents, choosing what aspects of their past to hold onto is a hard thing to do. So it’s important to start planning for a move early.
Getting a head start on decluttering and organizing while your parents are healthy won’t make you force and rush decisions. And even if they don’t move in the end, at least you’ll have made progress for when the time comes.
Rent Self-Storage to Make Moving Easier
While decluttering and organizing your parent’s home, consider self-storage to make a move that much easier.
For example, you could store family heirlooms and keepsakes in a storage unit – those sentimental items that aren’t used regularly. Moreover, storage helps unload the burden of a stressful move like downsizing to a smaller space. But if you’re not sure, find out if downsizing is for you.
Choosing this route, you’ll take on one thing at a time. Plus, you can focus on the move if it’s immediate, and organize belongings later.
Hire a Senior Moving and Downsizing Specialist to Help
Fortunately, there are professional senior moving and downsizing companies to help you move.
This specialized help often comes with the emotional intelligence required for helping elderly parents sort their belongings.
Some of these specialists offer a full-service including the move. In which case, they’re better skilled than your regular movers when it comes to the pressure and emotional pain associated with moving a parent to assisted living.
How Can You Help Your Parents Adjust to Assisted Living?
Help Parents Adjust with Familiar Furniture and Belongings
To help your parent adjust quickly, it’s recommended you move familiar items and furniture with them first. For example, you could easily move lamps, smaller furniture, pillows, and a box of sentimental items in a car prior to the big move. Plus you can try to mimic the layout of their living room to make it easier to settle.
As moving is also a stressful time, you should move without your parents present. It’ll help them adjust easier when they don’t have to experience moving day, as it can get quite emotional.
Give Them Space and Time to Adjust
Once you’re all moved, it’s time to let your parent adjust to their new community. Most assisted living communities offer activities throughout the days and still give plenty of independence. Actually, assisted living can extend a senior’s independence.
Now, let your parent enjoy and adjust to the changing lifestyle. They’ll get proper nutrition from in-house meals without the need to cook, and a lower stress maintenance-free home.
Check in with them regularly by phone or text message. Be open and discuss the changes with a positive mindset. Chances are they’ll be enjoying their new surroundings in no time.
Moving home at any age is difficult. But with plenty of preparation, your experience will be simple and low stress. Even before you decide on a move to assisted living, a smaller home, or long-term care, weigh up the pros and cons of moving house.
Keep having discussions about assisted living long before the time to move comes and you’ll help make the transition a lot easier.