Want your mom to be closer to her grandkids? Struggling to balance a life at home with caring for an aging parent who lives in another city or state?
If you’re considering moving an older parent to an assisted living community closer to you, you’re not alone. Many families explore this option because it not only means holidays with Grandma or Grandpa but also that you can be regularly involved in their life — and care — without extensive travel or disruption to your work or daily life.
But there are many things to consider before you hire a moving company, says Bianca Syriac, Marketing Director at The Ivy at Ellington. Here’s a look at four tips for moving a parent to a nearby assisted living community.
1. Communicate Early and Often
When trying to decide if moving your parent is the right thing to do, open and honest discussions with your parent and other family members are essential.
Maybe your parent is excited to move closer to you and the grandkids, but it’s also possible that they’re emotionally vested in the home or community they’re living in and that leaving will bring up sadness or even apprehension.
It’s also not unusual for a parent to feel conflicted about this kind of move. Address your parent’s fears of starting over in a new city. If your parent is worried about missing their friends, identify how big of change this will be, and then reassure them accordingly. Does your parent spend much time in person with the friends they’re worried about missing? Or is that time actually spent on the phone and very little will actually change once they move? Sometimes being creative can also help. Does your parent know how to Facetime or Skype? Both of these
are options that can give your parent control over maintaining the relationships they have that are important to them.
If your parent is worried that they won’t have anything to do once they leave behind their book club or church group, share with them how assisted living communities provide plenty of chances for lifelong learning, from computer classes to book clubs to trivia challenges. Many facilities even offer guest lectures from visiting scholars and professionals.
2. Get Your Paperwork in Order
There are key legal documents aging parents should have in place to plan how their affairs will be handled in the future, and to make sure their wishes regarding their end-of-life plans are clear. If you’re considering relocating your parent, two documents you should have:
- A health care power of attorney
- A durable power of attorney for finances
A health care power of attorney is a special kind of durable power of attorney that lets your parents authorize a loved one to make medical decisions on their behalf if they become unable to. A durable power of attorney for finance allows your parents to designate someone they trust to make financial, tax, and legal decisions on their behalf if they lose their decision-making capacity.
“Sometimes during the midst of trying to deescalate a situation, adult children may forget they are not the power of attorney or a conservator,” Syriac says. “These are important legal documents necessary to perform any of the onboarding paperwork for their family member.”
If your parent hasn’t made these arrangements, it’s important to get them in order before you move them.
3. Consider a Respite Apartment
Moving is stressful no matter what your age. But when you have decades of belongings to sort through, it can feel like an emotional roller-coaster, too.
“Moving furniture and downsizing can be time-consuming,” Syriac says. “A popular option for relocating loved ones to The Ivy at Ellington has been the respite apartment.”
Many assisted living communities offer respite care apartments. A respite apartment — also known as a short-term stay apartment — is a furnished apartment that includes the same comforts and amenities as an assisted living apartment.
“Essentially, in order to move in, you would pack clothing, toiletries, and other important items,” Syriac says. “The beauty of the respite is that it is move-in ready.”
Consider having your loved one move into a respite apartment at the assisted living community, and then handle the downsizing and moving of your parent’s most prized possessions to their new apartment.
4. Work with the Staff
Moving your older parent into an assisted living community is a big change. Fortunately, the assisted living team members are there to make moving easier. Assisted living staff members are familiar with the anxiety seniors feel when moving to a new place, and they have already established procedures and activities that make the transition easier.
Syriac shares a story of a woman who was living in an assisted living community in Florida but needed the support of a memory care community: “Her brother was her power of attorney and primary contact for the move. He was pretty overwhelmed with the situation and just wanted to have her in a more convenient location for his family. With the support of our nursing department and Carrie Wilson, our Reflections Program Director, we were able to get her settled in very quickly. She now participates in activities and has developed new friendships.”
Are you considering moving a parent closer to you? Want to learn more about the residents, team members, and programs at The Ivy at Ellington? Request More Information.