Perhaps one of the most difficult or challenging moves is the when you need to move an aging or infirm parent.
As people grow older, their strength wanes. Many times, their mental faculties grow weaker and they are easily confused. Add on to that the normal stress associated with moving and it can be quite a challenge moving an aging parent, especially if you are also moving furniture and household belongings. But, in many cases, such a move cannot be helped. After all, the alternative may be that they live alone thousands of miles away where no one can keep an eye on them.
Here are some tips on how to move an aging parent if you find yourself in a situation where such a move is unavoidable.
- First, be sure you communicate with your parents. Many old people are adamant that they don’t want to be moved even when they may know that it is necessary. And they are often resistant to change of any kind. Explain gently why you feel the move is necessary and try not to make the move until you know they are emotionally ready.
- Before you broach the subject, have a plan for where your parents will be moving to. Are they moving in with you? Will you be putting them into a nursing home or assisted living facility? Make sure they understand the plan.
- If you’ll be putting furniture and other items in storage, make sure you plan this part of the move well in advance so you can ensure you find a facility nearby.
- Other items of personal comfort or value that will be going with your parents should be kept safe during the move. Have a plan for those items and make sure your parents are aware that their personal items are safe and secure. Make sure you reassure them often.
- If your parents are resistant, be patient. Before you move your parent(s) into a retirement home or other facility, ask them to visit the facility with you. Seeing where they are going beforehand may ease their mind a bit, especially if they can meet the staff. Also, if possible, visit more than one facility and let your parents help you choose which one they’d feel more comfortable living in. Tell them how you feel, not what they must do. No one wants to be told what they have to do in their lives. Be reassuring and let them in on the decision early on.
- If siblings are involved, make sure all of you are on the same page.
Moving an aging parent can be stressful. Don’t add to the stress by pressuring your parent. And if necessary, take some counseling classes to help you manage your own emotions during this time.