JFS Perspectives

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Moving Mom and Dad

Moving Mom and Dad

One of the questions we receive most often is around how to go about moving your parents—whether it’s across the country to be closer to family or across the street into a retirement community. Adult children want to ensure that the transition goes smoothly, tending to their parents’ health, finances, and logistics.

This can be a tough conversation to have with aging parents; the process is challenging, and seniors can be emotionally invested in their homes. It is expected there will be sadness and grief. Give them time to grieve and discuss where they will be living and why they are moving. Give your parents as much choice as possible as they plan and implement the move.

Keep in mind everyone handles this differently. Use the tips below that best fit your parents’ personalities and needs in your own situation. Feel free to call our office at 303.415.1025 for help and/or check out the Boulder County Community Resource Guide for Older Adults and Adults with Disabilities and Professionals.

  • Don’t try to do it alone. You will be overwhelmed. Ask relatives and/or friends to help. There are also professional services you can call to help, such as house cleaners, landscapers, contractors, senior move managers, home stagers, estate sales companies, and movers.

  • Be prepared to take time off work.

  • Be patient. Moving is one of the top stresses in life for anyone. For older adults it can be extremely emotional. There are many memories in a home where they have raised a family, and their home represents their independence.
  • Maintain a positive attitude about the move. Be patient and sensitive; the few weeks leading up to the move can have many ups and downs. Be prepared for some bad days but try to keep things in proper perspective.
  • Encourage connection. The sooner your parents make friends in their new location, the better.Ask about the JCC, senior centers, or anything they are interested in that will make the transition easier. Be sure to look at the community calendar and circle some things your parents may enjoy. Focus on something new that they can do once in their new home. The retirement communities offer everything from Bingo, to lecture series, to armchair travel.

  • Ensure your loved one is placed in the appropriate setting. For example,it is key that people with dementia are placed in a setting where people understand dementia. When parents are resistant, unfortunately sometimes things must get worse to get better. It may take your parent falling for the realization that he or she can’t safely stay in their own home. Parents have a right to self-determination. Tell your parents that you can’t make decisions about how to run their life, but it would make you feel better if you could look at some places together so your parent can make an informed decision.

Being a caregiver is difficult, especially during a major life decision. Be sure to seek support for yourself—it is overwhelming. Talk to a professional or go to a support group, such as the monthly Adult Child Caregiver Support Group.

Remember it will get easier. Your parent will get use to their new environment and will hopefully come to love being there.


META DESCRIPTION: Tips from Boulder Jewish Family Service (JFS) for moving aging parents.