Make the Right Moves: How to Move an Elderly Parent into Assisted Living
Getting older and coping with new medical problems, loss of memory, and change in financial status after retiring are all very stressful events for people as they age. Add moving out of the home you’ve lived in for years to the mix, and you have a recipe for major stress. The good news is, if you do a bit of research and a lot of planning, you can make the transition much easier. We’ve put together some tips on how to move an elderly parent into assisted living with the least amount of stress.
Let’s get started.
- Choose the Right Assisted Living Facility
If the move into assisted living is still a year or so away, you have the luxury of taking some time to research the various facilities. Check out their websites and brochures, and schedule in-person visits to get a feel for the community. Ask the same questions at each facility and compare their answers. Read their online reviews as well. Choose the community that feels right and fits your budget.
- Downsize, Downsize, Downsize
If you know your elderly loved one will be moving at some point, start downsizing early. They’ve accumulated a lot over the years and may have kept everything that belonged to a spouse who passed away years ago. Help them make the tough decisions about what to leave to a family member, what to donate, keep, and even throw away. Be gentle, as many of their belongings have stories and emotions attached to them.
- Visit One More Time, and Take Measurements
Once your loved one has been accepted into an assisted living community and assigned a room, ask if you can come take measurements. While some facilities provide certain pieces of furniture, others let you bring your own furniture. Ask specific questions about what they provide, and what your loved one can and cannot bring. Determine what will fit and what needs to be sold at an estate sale or donated. Draw up a floor plan to scale, that you can use on move-in day.
- Consider Hiring a Senior Relocation Company
Working with a senior relocation company on the planned move can help reduce stress for both you and your loved one. The experts can help make the tough decisions and know of resources available. Create packing lists of all the things your loved one will need, from toiletries and medications to furniture and clothing. Be there to help them pack.
- Deal with Utilities and the Mail
Be prepared to be the one to handle all of the utility shutoffs. Cancel subscriptions or update the mailing address for magazines. Contact the postal service to give them the forwarding address.
- Handle Health Care Before the Move
Maryland law requires assisted living facilities to have an individualized plan of care for a resident BEFORE they move in. A medical evaluation and sharing of medical records is part of this. In addition, you will want to ensure you and your loved one know what sort of medical care is provided at their new residence. Arrange medical transport if needed to accommodate oxygen and a wheelchair, for example.
- Moving Day
Arrange to be at the assisted living residence when your parent’s belongings are moved in. If you took measurements before, and drew up a floor plan, you’ll be able to say what goes where, and not have to move things around. Add personal touches such as photographs, artwork, and favorite pillows or blankets.
- Talk About the Benefits of Assisted Living
Throughout this whole process, focus on the positives of the move. Your parent won’t have to worry about cooking, cleaning, or maintaining their home’s exterior. If they’ve been living alone, remind them they will have the opportunity to make new friends and explore new interests.
- Check Out the Activities
Look at the activity calendar together and circle several things of interest. Assisted living facilities generally have an online calendar as well as a printed calendar that residents can refer to. There may be games, crafts, music, gardening, exercise, movies, religious services, and other activities at specific times each week. There will likely also be special events at least once a month.
- Eat a Meal Together
Before you leave, stay for a bite to eat. Eating a first meal alone at assisted living can be anxiety-provoking. Do you remember the first day at a new school, looking around the cafeteria for a place to sit? It’s the same idea. The dining room can be the center of social activity. Help your loved one connect with other residents and staff.
By the time you leave, your loved one will be settled in their new space, and making new friends. You can schedule your next visit before you say your goodbyes, so they know when you’ll be back. We know that moving a loved one into assisted living isn’t easy for anyone, but we hope these tips can help smooth the transition.
Thinking About Assisted Living in Harford County? Schedule a Tour
If you’re looking for assisted living in Harford County MD, we’re glad you found us. We offer residential assisted living in a smaller, home-like atmosphere. It’s important you and your loved one tour the assisted living facilities you’re considering so you can find the right fit. You also want a facility you can visit easily without a long drive. We’re conveniently located within about an hour’s drive from Baltimore as well as York and Lancaster counties in Pennsylvania.
We offer custom tours on your schedule. Call 410-452-0004 to get started.