At some point, your parents’ home may be too large for their needs, and it may be time to downsize. If it’s time to have “the talk” with your aging parent(s), read on for information
Moving Special Considerations For Relocating Aging Parents
At some point, your parents’ home may be too large for their needs, and it may be time to downsize. If it’s time to have “the talk” with your aging parent(s), read on for information about things you need to consider and advice on how to talk to seniors about making a late-life transition. Even if they aren’t able to downsize right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can still begin the planning process.
If your loved one relies on medical equipment (e.g., hospital bed, lift chair, oxygen machine), make a note of those items before calling a moving company for quotes. Medical equipment requires special attention to detail and must be handled with care. Make sure the movers have experience relocating seniors and that the company’s licenses and insurance are up to date. Be sure to shop around for moving companies and read reviews (expect to pay $25 per hour per mover).
Older people often grow attached to their surroundings and the things they have lived with for much of their lives. It can be a vexing experience sorting through personal belongings and deciding what items are necessary and which must be let go. Offer your parents ample time to go through their possessions, and listen to their nostalgic stories. Sometimes, it is not the item itself but what it reminds them of that they don’t want to let go. Be firm but compassionate if downsizing is necessary.
While some over the age of 65 are as physically capable as they were 15 years ago, many are not. Don’t allow aging parents to move heavy furniture or large boxes. Even those in perfect health may have unknown medical conditions, such as osteoporosis, that put them at risk for injuries and physical stress. Your moving company’s staff will be more than happy to do the hard work so your mom and dad can enjoy their new home.
Fear of Change
If fear of the unknown is the issue, speak with your parents about ways to make their new home or apartment feel more comfortable upon arrival. Consider moving precious keepsakes ahead of time so they will be there when they arrive. Talk to them about other stages of their life when they’ve made a big decision and how it worked out, and remind them that this will be no different. Many older adults view moving closer to their children as a sign of weakness, and they fear losing their independence. Assure them that this decision is necessary in order to let them live life to the fullest. Promise them that the move is the best thing for them and their family and help them understand that you want them close. Make your parents feel needed and avoid making statements that indicate their presence is a burden.
Navigability and Safety
One of the first things that should be considered before planning a move is the ease with which the new home can be navigated by someone with current or potential mobility concerns. Have an honest conversation with your loved one about areas they feel least comfortable with. Often, this may be stairs, the bathroom, or moving around in the dark. These issues should be addressed before you begin house hunting so you know which properties to eliminate right off the bat, as the cost of modifications could impact how much you can afford to spend on purchasing a home (Little Rock homes have sold for an average of $205,000). For example, remodeling a bathroom or kitchen can become expensive (a bathroom remodel averages between $15,000 and $25,000), so make sure you budget for these costs.
Siblings and Other Adult Children
Your siblings as well as the siblings of your mom or dad may have their own opinions about your parents’ care. Consult with all concerned prior to speaking with your parents about the possibility of moving. Make sure you are all on the same page to avoid unnecessary bickering later on. It will help your parents feel more comfortable if everyone is in agreement and willing to work together.
On moving day, remember that communication is key. Speak to the movers to determine which items are most important and should be brought into the new home first. Make sure that necessary medical equipment and supplies are clearly marked and easily accessible. Together, you and your movers can make this a seamless transition.
My name is Jamie Taylor and I am the Owner and Principal Broker of Bluebird Realty here in Central Arkansas, serving all communities from Conway to Hot Springs! I started in the real estate field righ....