The steps leading to a decision to help your aging parent move are often difficult. You may have seen your parent’s bills go unpaid, they aren’t eating well, and they may even be neglecting taking necessary medications. This is a major life decision. One that your parent may be resistant to, and it’s important to be sensitive to their feelings, needs, and desires to help them through the transition. Whether your elderly parent is moving in with you in your home, a senior living community, or into an assisted living facility, there are things you need to consider in making sure everyone’s needs are met, and that you are fully prepared to handle the experience.
Have open communication with your parent to know exactly how they feel about the move. Admitting you can’t fully take care of yourself any longer can be difficult and it is important to help your parent feel comfortable with the change.
Involve family members in the decision-making process to be sure everyone is on the same page, and willing to help and offer support.
2. Seek help
Don’t try to do everything on your own. Enlist the help of your siblings. Many things need to be considered in taking over the care of your elderly parent, and one person cannot fully meet all of the needs and expectations. Make assignments for specific responsibilities such as organizing an estate sale, meeting with an attorney, assessing health care needs, etc.
3. Financial Ramifications
Leave no stone unturned when identifying all of the expenses involved with your parent’s relocation. There will be expenses incurred whether they move in with you or into an assisted living facility. Moving costs, health care expenses, and taking on any regular bills that your parent may have. Make arrangements for how any retirement accounts will be managed.
4. Get Legal
Be sure power of attorney is assigned, and that wills are in order. As aging parents become more dependent, it’s important to have plans in place for the future. Set aside time to consult with an attorney and your parent’s financial advisor to be sure everything is in place.
Keep enough furniture and other large items to help your parent feel at home, but sell or give away everything else. Having an estate sale can help offset some of the costs of helping your parent relocate. Donating items to goodwill or other charity is a great way to help those in need while downsizing at the same time.
6. Sort and Organize
Set aside time to sort through all of your parent’s belongings to decide what can be kept and what needs to go. They may even choose to give some special items away to specific family members. Involve your parent in the process and be respectful of their wishes.
7. Moving Prep
Beyond just sorting and organizing your parent’s belongings, you and your support system will be responsible for all moving responsibilities. That includes listing the home for sale with a real estate agent, cleaning, making necessary household repairs, and ultimately packing and physically moving everything. Delegate responsibilities to make the process as smooth and low-stress as possible.
8. Get a Storage Unit
Everyone can be a bit of a hoarder. We keep things because of sentimental value, or because we think we’ll need it later. It can be difficult to see someone else’s point of view when they insist on keeping something you think should be thrown away. Be sensitive to their wishes. At some point in the future, you may be grateful you saved everything your mother or father wanted to.
If there isn’t room in your house or at the assisted living facility, rent a mini storage unit so you can hold onto everything your parent wants to keep. Storage facilities are safe, secure, and low-commitment. You can rest easy that your parent’s belongings will be taken care of. Month-to-month rentals are an easy and cost-effective way to store your parent’s valuable property, with climate controlled and long-term storage options as well.
9. Moving Day
Once the house has sold, it’s time to move everything. Pack and load all belongings into the moving truck with care. This can be an emotional time for an aging parent who may have lived decades in one place. Take pictures and video of the home to reminisce on memories later.
10. Settling In
Help your parent settle into their new environment. Unpacking and organizing can be stressful emotionally and physically. Take the time to make sure your parent is moved in and feeling comfortable in their new surroundings.
11. Enjoy Your Family
Even though this may be an emotional time with many decisions to make and future circumstances to plan for, take the time to enjoy your family and memories that have been made. Caring for an elderly parent can be a very rewarding time when you are able to give back all the love and generosity that was selflessly given to you as a child.
Helping an aging parent move can be an emotional time. Be sure to surround yourself and your parent with all the love and support needed through the process. Keeping the factors mentioned above in mind will help ensure that you and your family are prepared to handle the transition ahead.