Studies show that
elderly people, when given a choice, prefer to remain in their own home,
independent from their children.
Don't panic, your
parent can live alone, or perhaps with the help of a few friends and
some simple modifications to the home your elderly parent can remain
in their home and maintain the same style of living.
Look to other family
member who may want to share a home with your parent and be responsible
for their care. If not, seek out agencies that provide companion sitters
for supervision, social stimulation, meal preparation, and light help
around the house.
You may be concerned
about your parent's eating habits. Some agencies, again, may provide
meals door to door, with special care to meet your parent's dietary
identify an informal support network and understand clearly how and
how much they are willing to help. You may be surprised to know that
people in your neighborhood may be more than willing to lend a helping
can make a routine, but discreet, inspection around the home. They can
find out about your parent's social life, and report to you twice a
week through telephone.
Ask someone your
parent trusts to assist with paying the bills. If you can't find someone,
have the bills forwarded to you.
There are many
support services in your community. Contact a local family agency or
Agency on Aging to find out what is available in your area.
helpers to call you collect whenever needed.
Stay in touch with
your relative by phone. Call during off-peak hours and organize your
thought before calling.
You and your parent
may decide that it's an appropriate time for your parent to consider
moving to a more sheltered environment such as a senior citizen apartment
complex or nursing home.
You and your parent
should decide, together, whether to look for facilities in your parent's
current community or one in the new city where you are relocating. If
moving to a new city, ask yourself if you are willing to visit regularly,
or if it would be better for your parent to stay nearer the community
in which he or she lives, where friends and other relatives can visit
more frequently than you can.
A good first step
for an elderly parent is to move into an independent retirement community.
These are individual units, like condominiums or apartments where senior
citizens can continue to live independently without the maintenance
of a large home.
Identify the type
of housing that best meets his or her needs, and visit several complexes.
When evaluating the options, keep in mind the following questions:
the Family You may think relocating your parent with you might be
easier than taking care of him or her long distance. But this may not
always be the case.
- Is the
unit affordable? What services are included in the monthly rate?
Some units may charge an all-inclusive rate while others may provide
a menu of options or services available for an additional fee.
- Can the
resident bring in furniture and other personal belongings? Personal
items can help your parent feel more at home, familiar with the
new surroundings, and may make the transition a bit easier.
- Is the
unit handicap accessible? Your parent may be in good physical
shape today, but can the facilities allow your parent to continue
living if someday your parent may need some assistance.
- Are there
stores and places of worship in close proximity? Is public transportation
available? Decide if your parent will give up the use of their
car. The lack of a car is a major threat to independence, so be
sure there are other accessible alternatives to transportation.
- What are
the staff's qualifications? Look at their credentials, talk
to the staff you will be assisting your parent.
- Are the
current resident's satisfied? Talk to residents and find out
if they are satisfied with the facilities. Find out what they like
and dislike about the place.
It is hard for
older people to relocate. Most do not want to leave their home and most
certainly do not want to live with adult children.
Think about how
the decision will affect you, your spouse, and your children, and other
family members. Discuss these issues frankly, individually, with every
family member. Keep in mind these questions:
Remember it will
take you and your parents some time to adjust to your new surrounding
and living arrangement.
- How do
your spouse and children honestly feel about the move? Can all of
you live under the same roof? Find out now, it is harder to
move a parent back, and family relationships in close quarters may
- Is there
adequate space in your new home for the combined household?
- How will
you protect and handle each other's privacy? What are the living
and sleeping arrangements? Depending on the size of your home,
you may need to give up some privacy and personal space to accommodate
an extra person.
- How will
day-to-day activities change? Maybe your parents can help you
out around the house, or baby-sit a child. If your parent cannot
take care of him or herself, decide who will and who will be responsible
for responding to their needs.
- What are
the financial consideration for both parties? How will this affect
the family budget? Remember that there may be medical and additional
expenses to be met.
- What about
your parent's social needs? Will you and your family be the only
source of companionship and entertainment?
Who Can Help?
Real Estate If you are moving we can help you by referring you to
many useful organizations and groups. Contact
us for more information.
Let your employer
know you will be relocating and that you are concerned about how the
transfer may affect your elderly parent. Many times a company can
provide support groups or allow you flexible use of leave time.
relocation team may help you find housing and senior services for
your parent in your new community.
If your employer
doesn't have these services, social workers and other geriatric professionals
can help you and your family assess your parent's abilities and needs.
And, as always,
careful planning and honesty can make the decision to relocate or
remain much easier and better for everyone involved.