Relocating With Your Elderly Parent


At present, you may be living close to or with your elderly parent. Maybe your parents need the extra care living next to them can facilitate, and maybe other circumstances have created this living arrangement. Now that you are thinking of relocating you may be faced with decisions concerning your elderly parents; should your parent move with you? if that's not possible, what can you do to ensure your elderly parent has the same care you provided?

These are hard and tough decisions to make, and hopefully our tips can clarify some things for you, help you understand the change you are going through and what situations may arise.

Always keep in mind, though, that your elderly parent should retain as much decision making responsibility as possible. Don't take over their future and remember they are part of your change. Sometimes they may be unable to make decisions, in which case you may need to do so on their behalf. But remember that, if at all possible, allow your parent to control him or her future.

Staying at Home

Studies show that elderly people, when given a choice, prefer to remain in their own home, independent from their children.

Don't panic, your parent can live alone, or perhaps with the help of a few friends and some simple modifications to the home your elderly parent can remain in their home and maintain the same style of living.

Look to other family member who may want to share a home with your parent and be responsible for their care. If not, seek out agencies that provide companion sitters for supervision, social stimulation, meal preparation, and light help around the house.

You may be concerned about your parent's eating habits. Some agencies, again, may provide meals door to door, with special care to meet your parent's dietary requirements.

Before leaving, identify an informal support network and understand clearly how and how much they are willing to help. You may be surprised to know that people in your neighborhood may be more than willing to lend a helping hand.

Neighborhood friends can make a routine, but discreet, inspection around the home. They can find out about your parent's social life, and report to you twice a week through telephone.

Ask someone your parent trusts to assist with paying the bills. If you can't find someone, have the bills forwarded to you.

There are many support services in your community. Contact a local family agency or Agency on Aging to find out what is available in your area.

Encourage these helpers to call you collect whenever needed.

Stay in touch with your relative by phone. Call during off-peak hours and organize your thought before calling.

Assisted Living

You and your parent may decide that it's an appropriate time for your parent to consider moving to a more sheltered environment such as a senior citizen apartment complex or nursing home.

You and your parent should decide, together, whether to look for facilities in your parent's current community or one in the new city where you are relocating. If moving to a new city, ask yourself if you are willing to visit regularly, or if it would be better for your parent to stay nearer the community in which he or she lives, where friends and other relatives can visit more frequently than you can.

A good first step for an elderly parent is to move into an independent retirement community. These are individual units, like condominiums or apartments where senior citizens can continue to live independently without the maintenance of a large home.

Identify the type of housing that best meets his or her needs, and visit several complexes. When evaluating the options, keep in mind the following questions:

  • Is the unit affordable? What services are included in the monthly rate? Some units may charge an all-inclusive rate while others may provide a menu of options or services available for an additional fee.
  • Can the resident bring in furniture and other personal belongings? Personal items can help your parent feel more at home, familiar with the new surroundings, and may make the transition a bit easier.
  • Is the unit handicap accessible? Your parent may be in good physical shape today, but can the facilities allow your parent to continue living if someday your parent may need some assistance.
  • Are there stores and places of worship in close proximity? Is public transportation available? Decide if your parent will give up the use of their car. The lack of a car is a major threat to independence, so be sure there are other accessible alternatives to transportation.
  • What are the staff's qualifications? Look at their credentials, talk to the staff you will be assisting your parent.
  • Are the current resident's satisfied? Talk to residents and find out if they are satisfied with the facilities. Find out what they like and dislike about the place.

Relocating with the Family You may think relocating your parent with you might be easier than taking care of him or her long distance. But this may not always be the case.

It is hard for older people to relocate. Most do not want to leave their home and most certainly do not want to live with adult children.

Think about how the decision will affect you, your spouse, and your children, and other family members. Discuss these issues frankly, individually, with every family member. Keep in mind these questions:

  • How do your spouse and children honestly feel about the move? Can all of you live under the same roof? Find out now, it is harder to move a parent back, and family relationships in close quarters may become strained.
  • Is there adequate space in your new home for the combined household?
  • How will you protect and handle each other's privacy? What are the living and sleeping arrangements? Depending on the size of your home, you may need to give up some privacy and personal space to accommodate an extra person.
  • How will day-to-day activities change? Maybe your parents can help you out around the house, or baby-sit a child. If your parent cannot take care of him or herself, decide who will and who will be responsible for responding to their needs.
  • What are the financial consideration for both parties? How will this affect the family budget? Remember that there may be medical and additional expenses to be met.
  • What about your parent's social needs? Will you and your family be the only source of companionship and entertainment?
Remember it will take you and your parents some time to adjust to your new surrounding and living arrangement.

Who Can Help?

Let your employer know you will be relocating and that you are concerned about how the transfer may affect your elderly parent. Many times a company can provide support groups or allow you flexible use of leave time.

Your employers relocation team may help you find housing and senior services for your parent in your new community.

If your employer doesn't have these services, social workers and other geriatric professionals can help you and your family assess your parent's abilities and needs.

And, as always, careful planning and honesty can make the decision to relocate or remain much easier and better for everyone involved.

Américas Real Estate If you are moving we can help you by referring you to many useful organizations and groups. Contact us for more information.

3121 Forney Lane, Suite A
El Paso, TX 79935-1607
Phone: (915)-593-2020
Fax: (915)-593-5311