7 Tips For Moving Your Elderly Parents
If you’re facing the prospect of moving your elderly parents from a home to something smaller, it can be an emotionally exhausting experience for all involved. It’s not easy to give up a home you’ve been living in for decades. It can be challenging to sort and divide up a lifetime of possessions. This process brings up old memories for everyone, adding to the complexity of the relocation.
As you shift from child to caregiver, this abrupt change can feel uncomfortable and overwhelming. Whether your parents are headed to a retirement community, assisted living or a sibling’s home, here are some tips to make your loved one’s transition as seamless as possible in Fort Worth.
1. Start Talking About the Downsize Well Beforehand
Before you put a for-sale sign up or pack a single box, you have to have “the talk” with your parents. In fact, it shouldn’t just be one conversation. It should be several. It takes a long time to get used to the idea of downsizing and the benefits that come with it. If your parents have medical or mobility issues that make it difficult to mow the lawn or clean all the rooms in the house, talk about that and how it would be much easier to let other people take care of that.
Perhaps they are on a fixed income and can no longer afford a large home as well as all the upkeep. Factor all this into the conversation.
You would be smart to have the downsizing conversation well before it becomes necessary. Rushed decisions are never good. Ultimately, you will want to explore your options about a year before the move will take place. Otherwise, you may find yourself scrambling in times of crisis, from personal to health to financial situations, settling on the first option you see.
It’s important to get your parents involved and interested in what will be happening to them. Gather information about various facilities and locations, and schedule some tours. Be optimistic and positive about this new chapter and how it will benefit them.
2. De-Clutter the House
Now that you have made the decision to downsize your parents, it’s time to go through the home and de-clutter all the rooms. This includes basements, storage areas and attics. There’s no way they can bring everything with them into a smaller apartment or home, so taking a methodical approach to this task will be helpful.
This is also the most emotional part of the downsizing process. Take care to evaluate each item alongside them and put things into one of three piles: keep, donate/sell or trash.
You can earn them some money by holding a yard sale or selling things online. You can also donate furniture to a local charity, and toss what is broken or ripped. Those items with high sentimental values can be passed down to grandchildren or great grandchildren, or placed into storage.
3. Be Empathetic
During this time, try your best to downsize with empathy. Put yourself in your parents’ shoes so you can see things from their perspective. Relocating a senior from a home filled with prized possessions and treasured memories is no easy feat. It’s not just the years of stuff you have to soft through. It’s also about being sensitive to all the memories those items hold.
Be sure to balance sentimentality with practicality. Otherwise, the process could take forever and emotionally torture everyone involved. Ask your parents to name five possessions they hold most dearly. These can be categorized as “keepers” but keep in mind they may want to readjust this list throughout the process.
4. Keep Their Safety in Mind
When on the hunt for a new place for your elderly parents, always keep their safety, health, and well-being in mind. Even if they are quite mobile now, they may soon not be. Think about any modifications you will need to add, such as a master bedroom on the first floor or grab bars in the bathroom. Think about accessibility features such as soft-close cabinets, levered door handles, and lower countertops.
5. Take Baby Steps
When packing up your parents’ house, take your time and go room to room. Start with the least-used rooms first. Sorting and cleaning as you go will make your life much easier. Just be prepared for the packing and prepping process to take more time than you thought. Your parents aren’t going to want to rush through the process. You will likely have to hear many stories along the way. Listen and gently encourage them to move on to the next task.
Give them their space, but also offer to help in whatever way you can. Start with rooms that don’t have so many memories attached to them, such as guest rooms and guest bathrooms. This will ease them into the downsizing process.
6. Use Checklists to Streamline the Process
Prioritizing tasks is essential when moving your parents. This keeps everything on track and the flow of packing going smoothly. Create this checklist on the computer or download an app. When you have finished a task, check it off the list. This can be very satisfying as you see your progress take flight.
Checklists are valuable tools that help you prioritize what has to happen and when it has to happen.
7. Plan Out Transportation Needs Carefully
If you plan to drive your parents to the new house, plan for quick stops and breaks so they can use the rest room, have a snack and stretch their legs. If a long distance is involved, you may want to consider flying instead, especially when there are mobility issues involved. Ask about special requests from the airline, such as early boarding, boarding assistance, airport escorts, wheelchairs or accessible seating.
Contact Luke’s Moving Services
Here at Luke’s, we are sensitive to the emotional component of moving. Let us assist you in your senior move to ensure the process goes seamlessly. Get a free quote when you contact us today!