Our parents are everything to us. They are the foundation of who we are, what we know, and who we have become. Though we eventually go off to college, meet our spouse, and build a life for our children, our parents are still our north star.
Making the decision to convince our parents to move to a retirement community is hard because it forces us to face the reality that our parents are no longer the strong people who raised us. But circumstances dictate that they can no longer live alone.
The first step of having that conversation with your parents can be like taking the first step off a cliff, so be as prepared as possible by knowing the different housing options available and the services they provide. Consider your parents’ health, financial resources and desired lifestyle.
When you open the discussion, involve other key people, such as your siblings, your spouse and your older children. You may even seek advice from your parents’ doctor or other professional caregivers. Be sure that your parents’ views and opinions are considered along with everyone else’s, so they are a part of whatever decision and not just subject to it.
Visit as many communities as possible with your parent, multiple times if necessary to get feel for the personnel and understanding of the services.
The decision to move can present another set of challenges. The home we grew up in always holds a special place in our hearts, but is even dearer to your parents because that’s where they raised you. Cherish any remaining moments, special occasions and holidays you have there, and take a lot of photographs.
Start the moving process by figuring out what items are worth keeping and which ones can be thrown away. For gently used items, consider a yard sale, making a donation, or selling items to a consignment store. Of the items that can be kept, decide who will keep them. Let your parents decide who they want to give items to.
Some moving companies specialize in elder moves. Turning to a third party during this difficult time can dilute some of the emotion involved. Elder-move managers can draw up floor plans of your parents’ new home so they can see where items will fit, arrange for shipments and storage, and oversee the packing and unpacking so you can focus on your parents. These services can be found with an online search.
If you have questions about deciding when to move your elderly parents, or want more information about the different residential options, contact Ted Mong, corporate director of sales and marketing, at 614-273-3749.