Watching your elderly parents move can be more stressful than moving yourself. Depending how long they’ve been in their home, it may be hard for them to want to leave. With years of accumulated family history to sort through you’ll have your work cut out for you – especially if they’re downsizing or relocating to an assisted living facility.
No matter what the situation is, you want to be sure that your parents’ move goes as smoothly as possible. Misplaced intentions, family drama and geographic barriers can make moving your parents challenging or even painful. As your national moving experts and part time amateur family therapists, we thought we’d impart some of the wisdom we’ve gleaned over the past 75+ years of helping families like yours move.
Is It Time to Move?
As your parents age, you become increasingly concerned about them. Are they healthy enough to live alone? Can they still perform daily tasks independently? Are their stairs too steep or the bathtub too tall? These are the questions that can race through your mind at night.
Ideally, your parents move to a location that aligns with their changing needs before their current situation becomes problematic. A single level layout, near another family member, with public transportation and conveniences like groceries and medical services nearby would probably make everyone feel better. But when is the right time to have the conversation and start the wheels moving?
Convincing elderly parents to move closer or to a more appropriate living situation can take time and patience. During early negotiations, keep the conversation positive and supportive. Emphasize the positives of a new home and how their decision to downsize will save everyone, including themselves, grief later on. Ensuring your parents that you have their back and want to help them will likely make the decision to move easier.
7 Tips for Helping Your Parents Move
Once you get the green light, it’s time to rally around your parents’ move. Moving is a big job (we know!) so getting organized early on is crucial to later success. Here are some tips for finding that perfect new home and executing a successful move for elderly parents:
- Consider Every Need
Factor in your parents’ health and anticipate all their future needs. Does the new home have walk-in showers? Will they be able to reach into the kitchen cupboards? Will you need to clear the sidewalks during winter? Make a list of all the criteria your parents should look for as they begin hunting for their new home. Consider the location and who can respond quickly in the event of an emergency.
- Is An Assisted Living Facility in The Cards?
Depending on the level of care your parents need, it may make sense to look at a senior living facility. Many retirement communities offer tiered accommodations that range from fully independent apartments to complete adult care. These options allow aging parents to move laterally as their needs change and give family members peace of mind knowing that an onsite nurse is always available.
- Help Your Parents Get Acquainted with Their New Neighborhood
Even before they deposit the earnest money, make sure your parents will enjoy their new neighborhood. We’ve seen parents move because they wanted to be closer to family members but quickly realize they don’t like where they live. Walk the area, meet the neighbors and visit local stores and restaurants to make sure it has all the amenities they want. This can be more work if you’re planning a long-distance move but the effort is worth it for long-term happiness.
- Manage Healthcare
Healthcare issues should be at the top of the list when planning your parents’ move. Make certain that they will be able to get the care they need without interruption or difficulty.
For long-distance moves, check with insurance to find new providers that cover your parents specific health issues. Your parents don’t want to move into their new home only to find that the nearest dialysis center is a two hour drive. Check that there is a pharmacy nearby and transfer prescriptions. If your parents have extensive health issues, it may be beneficial to hire a care manager to help you coordinate all aspects of care.
- Organize Tasks
Create a moving checklist of all the tasks that need to be done. From sorting the basement to filling out change of address forms, assign everyone tasks and make sure they get checked off as they’re completed. The more you, friends and other family members can help, the less strain your parents will feel. Getting organized and staying organized will make moving much more pleasant.
As parents get older, they need less. Your family home may hold years of mementos, but how many of them do you actually need? Downsizing, especially sentimental items, can take time. Give yourselves plenty of time to sort through your parents’ home and make the right decisions. This may be a good time for your parents to pass on things they no longer want to their children or grandchildren.
- Hire A Reliable Moving Company
A good moving company, especially one that has experience relocating older adults, can make all the difference. By letting a professional handle packing, storage and transportation logistics, you free yourself up to be present to your parents as they make their big transition.
Wheaton’s Silver Certified Program puts you in touch with a local agent who understands the physical and emotional needs of elderly movers. They can absorb the stress of moving to give your family more space to make the right decisions.
Unburden the Moving Process
Taking care of elderly parents can be hard on families. Moving them to a new home can be downright overwhelming. Trust the moving company that specializes in helping families like yours safely relocate their parents to new and better homes. Talk to a local Wheaton agent today and start planning your move. We’ll treat your parents like our own. That’s the Wheaton family way.