Making the decision to move your parent(s) into an assisted-living home or facility is just the first step. It may be the hardest step but there are many more things that you need to do to make sure that your parents have the smoothest and least stressful move possible.
- Check with the home to see what your parents will need – Assisted-living communities, which are like apartments, may require much of what your parents have in their personal homes such as furniture, dishes, linens, etc. But if you’re moving your parents into a home care situation like Dignified Living for Seniors, we provide all of the furniture and houseware items that they’ll need. Clothing, personal items, photos, books, and anything else they’d like to have for enjoyment and comfort is encouraged. We do discourage bringing any items of value with your parents. Although our staff is fully trustworthy and would do their best to keep track of your parents’ valuable items, we do have guests and members of other families visit and we wouldn’t want anything to happen to valuables.
Also, many elderly now use cell phones, tablets, and other small electric devices to keep in touch with family and friends. Please ask the caregivers that your parents’ new home to make sure that there are no rules or conditions for using these devices, such as internet service or marking the items with name and room or unit number. Make sure you check your parents’ new living space for adequate electric sockets. If there aren’t enough to power your parents’ needs please check with the home to make sure extension cords and/or power strips are allowed.
- Provide a leisurely schedule when downsizing with your parents – If your parents have been in their home for decades and they’ve yet to take on the task of downsizing please remember that this will be an extremely stressful situation for them. Every item in their home probably has sentimental meaning and suddenly having to sell, donate or give away treasures that they’ve collected over the years will be hard. Give them months, if possible, to sort, sell, give and donate their possessions to ease the stress of this big transition.
- Identify cherished items first – Typically identifying cherished items first is the easiest approach for the elderly. They quite often can quickly pick out those items that they have to keep or give to loved ones. This can become complicated if your parents have dementia or have succumbed to hoarding (very common). It’s still the best place to start, even if you have to go back through the identified items later to reduce the number further.
- Start in an unused spaced or room – When attempting to identify items to sell, give away or donate, it is easier if you start in an unused space or room first. Typically there’s less of an emotional attachment to the items in those rooms. Once those areas have been sorted and reduced then use that space to sort and store the cherished items, items to give to family members, items to donate, etc. That way it’ll be easy to see exactly how much is moving on with your parents to their new home.
- Create a moving schedule – If it’s not an emergency situation, then create a moving schedule and talk about it frequently with your parents, especially if you’re not personally there with them. This will help you create a sense of urgency when going through personal items and possessions. It will also help to make it “more real” for your parents. Remember, they’ve probably lived in the same location for decades and to be required to move to a new place because they need more assistance will often be seen as undesirable and unlikely in their minds. So everything you can do to help make it a reality for them without being harsh and unsupportive is necessary.
- Create a “take with me” box – Set up a box that your parents can use for items that they want to personally move to their new home themselves. Often, this will be pictures, cell phone, books, snacks, beverages, or other small items that they want to personally take with them.
Above all, as we’ve mentioned frequently, this new chapter of your parents’ lives can often be stressful for them. Having to rely on others to do things they previously could do can feel, to them, that they are no longer in control of their lives. Try to be as patient, supportive, caring and understanding as possible during this time. If you have any questions or concerns prior to moving your parents to one of the Dignified Living for Seniors homes, please give us a call at (972) 978-1656.