Helping Your Aging Parents Make the Move to Assisted Living

sailboat-sunsetSometimes it becomes clear that our aging parents need to chart a new course for their remaining years. Sometimes we see that before they do.

We talked in an earlier post about the advantages of the multi-generation household. When you move your aging parents into your home, there can be surprising benefits – financial, practical and emotional. It can be a time to give back, and a time for your children to bond with their grandparents.

But for some families this scenario is just not a practical one. Perhaps your parents require daily caregiving that is beyond what you can offer. If they have Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia, they might require constant supervision. Your home may not be set up to accommodate them, if, for instance, all the bedrooms and bathrooms are on the second floor and they can no longer handle stairs. It is a difficult and emotional decision for the whole family, but sometimes a move to an assisted living facility is the best choice for everyone.

There are strategies to make this a less challenging transition.

  • Talk about it. Keep the lines of communication open, and listen as much as you talk. Let your parents express all their concerns. Loss of control is a big issue for seniors, so let them make as many choices as possible.
  • Get the extended family involved. Encourage siblings and other close family members to help with the move, and most of all, to spend time with their elderly loved ones. This can be a time to create new memories, and the camaraderie of gathering “the tribe” will lighten the mood and lift your parents’ spirits.
  • Downsize their possessions. This is another tricky area. These “things” represent a lifetime of memories and are very precious. Lots of memories will come up for them, and probably for you, too. Take the time to reminisce. Help them narrow it down to a few meaningful items to take with them to their new home. The website A Place for Mom has an excellent blog post about downsizing that talks about hiring a “move manager” to keep things organized and help make smart decisions.
  • Consider a storage unit. A storage unit can be a great way to ease the transition. Instead of forcing your parents to part with all of their treasures, or making hasty decisions about who will get what, you can rent a storage unit for a short term to take the pressure off. If you or your parents live in the Las Vegas area, please check out our Henderson location.
  • Help them settle in. Arrange their room to look as familiar as possible. This is not the time to invest in new furniture – comfortable pieces from their old home will help them make the adjustment..

Try to make this a celebration of their new life. Again, encourage as many family members as possible to spend time with them during and after the move to reassure them that happy family times will continue. With love and patience, you and your parents can navigate these choppy waters and move on to smoother sailing.

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