Giving Care: Senior & Disabled Caregiver Resource Blog

Checklist for Moving Elderly Parents (2024 Guide)

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Moving is always challenging. This task becomes even greater when moving an older loved one into a new space. 

Preparing in advance for this life change can help create a smoother transition when moving your aging parent to an assisted living facility or nursing home. When you feel like it’s time for a nursing home or long-term care facility, what can you do to help senior parents?

This comprehensive checklist for moving elderly parents can provide you with a complete guide to help adult children ready the family for this move. 

Pre-Move Preparation

It’s important to consider the needs and concerns of your loved one before choosing a long-term care home. 

Assessing Your Loved One’s Needs and Preferences

Nursing homes and assisted care communities come in many shapes and sizes. There are smaller care homes for a more intimate feel or large scale assisted care communities that feature various activities and even various outdoor spaces. Some places allow for greater independence in daily living while other senior care facilities specialize in medical care. You’ll know when it’s time to move from assisted living to a nursing home when your senior parents require specialized care services. 

Selecting the Right Location and Living Arrangement

Assessing your parent’s needs and wants, combined with yours and other relatives’ needs, can help narrow down this search. 

For family members who want to ensure regular visits, a location close to home will be beneficial. If your aging parent lives in another city, proximity to relatives becomes less significant and quick access to shops or medical care centers may be more important. 

You should also consider the layout of the long-term care facility — or new home if aging in place — to meet the needs of your loved one. For example, if mobility is a concern then a floorplan on one level is a priority. 

Financial Planning and Budgeting for the Move

Moving can be expensive. You may decide to hire a moving company or senior relocation experts, arrange for a down payment, organize insurance changes and more. 

Set time to review finances and then budget accordingly.

Essential Documents and Legal Considerations

Moving an elderly parent often includes organizing and planning important documents. 

Gathering Necessary Paperwork

As family members age, it is important to have legal documents, financial, and healthcare information readily available. 

An aging parent’s health can quickly change. Organizing necessary paperwork and ensuring quick access to these important documents will help create a time-efficient response in case of emergency.

Understanding Power of Attorney and Guardianship

As the child of an aging parent, you want to ensure your loved one’s needs are met—even after they lose the ability to care for themselves. 

Setting up a power of attorney ensures you or a designated family member will have the legal control to carry out the senior relative’s needs wishes, such as by signing documents or healthcare decisions. 

Before moving your parent into a senior care home, and if possible, decide together on the status and roles of this guardianship. 

Health and Medical Preparations

Moving an aging loved one into a senior care home involves more than just packing their belongings. 

Coordinating with Healthcare Providers

Seniors often have numerous doctors and health care providers. Discuss the upcoming move with your older parent’s professionals. These experts can offer advice for your specific situation, as well as ensure prescriptions and other modes of care can be transferred to a new location.

Medication and Health Records Management

When speaking to your loved one’s healthcare team, ask for their medication list and health records. This can create a smoother process when transitioning an older adult to their new healthcare team. 

Packing and Downsizing

Advanced planning and earlier preparation can help make the move less stressful. 

Sorting and Organizing Belongings

Older people tend to accumulate many belongings. Together, you and your aging parent will have to sort through these items.

This can be an emotional experience. Start the process sooner than necessary to allow for a more relaxed schedule and alleviate time pressure.

Deciding What to Keep, Donate or Discard

Starting the sorting process early creates more time for organization, too. Create different piles for donating, keeping or discarding. 

Most senior care homes offer sizable apartments, but they are often smaller than what your loved one is used to. Take measurements of the new space to ensure their new home doesn’t feel too cramped or overwhelmed by bringing too many things. This goes for furniture pieces and sizes, too. 

If your older loved one has challenges with mobility, consider easy-to-wear adaptive clothing and donate anything they are no longer wearing. 

This is also a good opportunity to add new wardrobe pieces that fit their lifestyle. Adaptive clothing that meets specific needs, such as clothing for Alzheimer’s patients, can also be helpful to incorporate at this time.

Moving Day Strategies

Prepare for the big day in advance and create a more successful experience. 

Hiring the Right Moving Services

There are numerous companies that focus on senior relocation services as well as other care needs. Research the available moving resources and professional movers in your area to help both you and your aging parent when they move to their new memory care facility. 

Other services to consider using on moving day may include such additional caregivers for the day, cleaning services and a reputable moving company that specializes in the aging population.

Ensuring a Smooth Transition on the Day

Expect moving day to be an emotional one. Before the big move to a living care community, talk with your loved one about the benefits of their new living space. Remind them of the on-hand care and social opportunities they will have. Your older family member will also feel comforted to know that many of their cherished items will be in their new home, too.

Settling into the New Home

Creating an at-home feeling for your loved one can help with this life transition. 

Making the New Environment Safe and Comfortable

Arranging your loved one’s new apartment before they arrive can help them feel more at-home. Putting out a few of your parent’s framed photos, books or other memorabilia can help the space feel more welcoming and familiar. Buying useful gifts for seniors in assisted living like adaptive equipment and clothes can help as well.

Emotional Support and Adjustment Period

There will be an adjustment period as your family member transitions to their new life in assisted living. Remember this older person has just gone from autonomous living to a very different lifestyle. 

Be patient with your older parent and try to understand their feelings. Validating their concerns can help them feel more secure. Try to check in on them more often in those first weeks or months, whether through phone calls or in-person visits, for reassurance and support. 

Ongoing Care and Support

Your job is not necessarily over once the move is complete. 

Establishing a Routine and Community Connections

Once the boxes are unpacked, it’s time to help your loved one settle into their senior care home. Many assisted living communities provide onsite activities and entertainment. Review this schedule with your parent and encourage them to become involved in programs that pique their interest. 

Together, you and your parent can create a calendar of monthly events as well as a daily schedule to keep your parent active, social and healthy. 

Long-term Caregiving Considerations

Caregiving needs for your loved one will likely change over time. Many senior care homes have nursing and caregiving staff on hand. As your parent ages, over time they may become more reliant on daily care. Have a plan, such as by hiring a dedicated caregiver, to provide daily support when the time comes. 

This checklist for moving elderly parents to a nursing home or assisted living facility is meant as a guide to assist you during this process. As always, reach out to your healthcare provider and other experts to discuss your situation. 

Shop for nursing home clothing and other adaptive clothing styles to empower the seniors in your life.

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