When Your Loved One Is Ready to Move to an Elder Care Facility
Whether you are planning to move your senior parent from one assisted living situation to another, or from their home into their first assisted living situation, moving comes with a host of attendant stressors, sacrifices, and obstacles. And often, if there are health issues related to your loved one, moving can be twice as difficult. Here are ten tips to help you move your senior parent safely and successfully, managing their emotions during the transition, as well as your own.
1 – Start the Process as Early as Possible
If you have time to prepare for the move, then always be sure to use it. Many of us feel a sense of urgency once the decision has been made to move our senior parent(s). If safety is an issue, act on that sense of urgency. But if you have time to carefully plan and ease all parties involved into the idea and process of moving, it’s generally best to take advantage of it.
2 – Be Kind and Respectful But Firm During the Culling Process
Most moves necessitate a culling of objects and household items; this is especially so of the transition from family home to assisted living. This culling process can be extremely challenging and fraught with emotional pitfalls. After all, each and every object in the home may be infused with symbolic emotional power.
Try to remain kind and respectful as you help your parent decide which of their things to keep, which to redistribute to family and friends, and which to donate to charity.
3 – Get as Many Friends and Family Members Involved as Possible
Moving Mom or Dad can be extremely stressful, so be sure to get all the help you can. It will help you to maintain your sanity, and provide a positive influence for your parent, surrounding them with the support of friends and family. Watch out for baggage though; this is not the time for airing of grievances or unpacking old disputes. If they can’t bring support and love to the move without everything else, it’s best for those family members or long-time friends to stay at home.
4 – Manage Your Feelings and Stress First
You may feel compelled to manage your parent’s grief, stress, and anger first, before your own. This is a mistake. You can’t help anyone else to cope with difficult feelings unless you’ve had the time and energy to take care of yourself first.
5 – Take the Move of Your Loved One Step by Step
Take the packing and culling portions of the move as slowly as the situation will allow. If possible, cull and pack one room at a time, beginning with the least emotionally impacting area of the house, and working up to the more difficult ones.
6 – Set a Firm Date Well in Advance
Setting a solid move date well in advance can help some senior parents prepare mentally and emotionally for the big day. This can help you keep resistance to a minimum.
7 – Hire Professionals to Handle the Heavy Lifting
On the day of the big move, your focus should be on your parent and their transition to an elder care facility, and not on the logistics of moving furniture and heavy boxes.
8 – Consider Removing Yourself and Your Senior Parent
Consider making the move day a vacation day away from the move itself. Take your parent to visit friends and family, or out for a favorite activity while the majority of the move is taking place. Be careful not to spend too much time away though, this could make the transition unnecessarily abrupt for some seniors.
9 – Stay Upbeat, Kind, and Positive During Unpacking
The move doesn’t end once the boxes have been taken off the truck. Try to stay upbeat and kind during the unpacking and settling and make the transition happen in phases whenever possible.
10 – Encourage Easing Into the New Surroundings Over Time
Check in more frequently than you normally would with your senior parent in the weeks that follow the move. Encourage them to ease into their new surroundings and try to find the positive aspects generated by the move.
It Won’t Be Easy, But Moving a Senior Into Elder Care Can Be Safe and Successful
Remember, no one is perfect – and the older we get, the more set in our ways we become. This applies to both you and your senior parent, and times can be trying when you’re attempting a move to a new facility. Try to manage your emotions around the move and strategize and plan for the best move possible. Take it step by step, and you will be able to move your senior loved one safely and successfully.