Moving is always a stressful experience. But for an elderly person who may be forced to give up his or her home — and possibly independence — it can be downright traumatic.
However, an article I read last week in the Wall Street Journal on line offered some tips on how the transition can be eased.
The most important, the article said, is to offer the older folks the opportunity to make their own choices, if possible. The earlier planning is started, the better.
Starting the discussion early allows for all options to be considered.
Of course, many older folks will not want to have that discussion, but it is important to remind them that if the time comes when they cannot make their own decisions, they will have to be made for them. This way, they get to choose.
If assisted living is in the picture, the adult children should do the research and present the options to their parents. They should be given the chance to visit the various facilities and, once a decision is made, should be given the opportunity to decide what personal possessions they want to bring with them. Many facilities will have floor plans available so the furniture layout can be finalized weeks in advance.
Make sure to get the new residence set up, and the personal items unpacked before your parents spend their first night there. Check with the on-site case managers to see if the adult children should spend a lot of time there in the first few weeks. Some facilities have advised that the children not spend too much time with their parents because it gives the parent a chance to get adjusted on their own.
At the same time, you cannot neglect your own families and duties.
Moving parents can be a challenge, but, done right, it can be done well.