Moving Out: 7 Survival Tips for Relocating Your Elderly Parent
Mom’s gone missing once too often.
Dad falls down every other day.
Such scenarios usually point to one outcome – it’s time to move your parent to a nursing home.
Moving a parent to an elder care facility is tough. Very tough. The emotional stress of this major life change makes every decision ten times harder. Add to the mix selling the house, finding the right facility, and Mom or Dad’s grouchy days – it’s a recipe for disaster. Here are seven things to keep in mind to make this transition a success:
1) Prepare, Prepare and Prepare Some More
You know the time for this move is coming. But how do you get Dad to see it?
Start repeatedly bringing up the topic to your parent. They will not like it. Neither will you.
Yes, it is uncomfortable. But fighting with them when time has run out will be even more uncomfortable. If you consistently broach the topic over a long period of time, you can gently ease your parent into the idea.
If they are still resisting?
a) Use lots of empathy.
b) Make it their decision. Ask them questions that will bring them to the realization, on their own, that it’s time for a change.
c) Visit friends or relatives who are happily settled in a retirement home, assisted living facility or any elder care facility.
d) Assure them that you still plan to be heavily involved in their life.
2) Clarify Services
In the rush to get your parent into the right institution, you may forget about things like laundry. Seems like no big deal, but it isn’t! Don’t assume anything – make sure the facility takes care of these services, and if not, arrange for someone to do it regularly. You can’t wait for Mom to call you saying, “I need a haircut NOW!”
Make sure your parent has:
a) Laundry service
b) Personal grooming – hair washing and cutting, shaving, nail maintenance
c) Doctor’s appointments and visits
Plan it in advance and keep everyone happy.
Getting rid of a lifetime of stuff is hard. But dragging it all to the retirement home is not an option. Though it’ll be a tough discussion, you need to gently figure out a way to identify what your parent REALLY needs to keep.
To keep things simple and realistic, have a floor plan of your parent’s room in front of you as you sort. This will give everyone a concrete method of determining what to bring to the senior residence.
Then, arrange an estate sale or donate the rest.
What should they bring along?
a) Necessities – like clothing and grooming tools
b) Sentimental items – photos of the grandkids and letters from loved ones
c) Entertainment – such as books, CDs, and knitting equipment
d) Familiar furniture – there’s nothing like a favorite armchair or loveseat to make the new residence feel like home.
4) Plan Finances
Think Medicare will cover your parent’s facility? Think again.
At most, Medicare covers up to 100 days at a long-term care facility. And that applies only to a patient that has been in a hospital for at least three days and was transferred directly from the hospital.
Double check to make sure your parent has other coverage for long term care. If not, you need to figure out how you’ll be paying for this. Of course, if your parent’s financial situation is poor, they may qualify for Medicaid assistance.
National average prices are as follows:
a) Nursing Home/Long Term Care Residence - $7000/month b) Assisted Living Facility - $3300/month
5) Set a Routine
What’s the most dangerous thing for your retired parent? Boredom. It’s bad for their physical and mental health, and for YOUR peace of mind – because a bored parent is a needy and clingy parent.
Luckily, most senior citizen facilities offer a range of activities and outings. Make sure to sign your parent up for whatever interests them.
Fill up their calendar and give them fun times to look forward to!
6) Visit Often
No one likes to feel they were relegated to the back burner! Show your parent they’re still an active part of your life and visit whenever you can.
Make the visits meaningful – share photos, stories, and memories. And if you have kids, there’s nothing like a visit from the grand-kids to cheer up Mom.
7) Get a Lil Tracker GPS Pendant
Worried that Dad will wander off while on an outing? Want to make sure Mom is always well taken care of?
Get Lil Tracker’s GPS Pendant. It’s jam-packed with features that will give you and your parent peace of mind. Not only can you know where your parent is 24/7 – you can also converse with them directly without having to catch them on the phone! Plus, you’ll get an alert any time your loved one leaves a pre-determined area, so you can nip any mishaps in the bud.
But most importantly – pat yourself on the back! This is a hard stage and you’re doing your best to give your parent the best care possible. Of course you’d love to care for your parent on your own. But unfortunately, if you have your own job and family that take full time care, this may be impossible. And if your parent has dementia, Alzheimer’s, or severe physical needs, some conditions may be beyond your medical knowledge.
Moving them to a place where they can get the care they need is a good decision.