How to Move a Parent to Assisted Living: A Complete Guide to Making a Smooth Transition
Even if they are consenting, moving a parent into assisted living is difficult. There will be a lot of decisions to make, and they will all be accompanied by emotions.
Are you wondering how to move your parents into assisted living? Are you feeling overwhelmed by all of the choices you have to make? If that's the case, keep reading.
This article will give you tips, such as:
Determining a budget
Talking with your parent; and
How to prepare for moving day
Table of Contents
When Should Parents Move to Assisted Living?
Are you wondering when to move your parent(s) to assisted living?
This is a difficult question, but one that must be answered if they require assistance and you are unable to provide it.
There are several signs that indicate it may be time for your parent(s) to make this transition.
8 Steps for Moving Elderly Parents Into Assisted Living
There are several things to do when looking at assisted living for elderly parents.
To avoid making this season of life overwhelming, take each step one at a time, and remember to breathe.
#1: Determine the Budget
The cost may be one of the most important determining factors when looking for assisted living choices.
Assess your family’s monthly budget and look for assisted living communities that fit your needs. If you are lucky, your parents may have money set aside or long-term care insurance that will assist in covering the costs.
Speak openly with your parents about their financial situation. You will need to assist your parents in understanding the costs and prices of assisted living communities.
Since assisted senior living can be expensive, it is best to get everything out in the open so you can:
Decrease stress; and
Understand your options for paying for care, whether it’s through:
#2: Do Online Research
When researching assisted living facilities, it is crucial to begin your search early. You do not want to research when you are in a crisis-type situation; you will want time to consider the pros and cons of each facility.
There are a few websites that may be helpful when researching assisted living facilities:
Eldercare Locator — This is a public service of the US Administration on Aging; it connects you to services for older adults
AssistedLiving.org — Provides research information concerning assisted living and has a facility locator on their site
LeadingAge — Represents more than 5,000 aging services and has a comprehensive Aging Services Directory
Argentum — A trade association for senior living communities; has an online directory of communities
Along with these websites, it is always a good idea to ask for suggestions and referrals from:
Your loved one’s physician
#3: Narrow Your Search
With the above-listed resources, you might have a long list of assisted living facilities you are interested in.
A good number to narrow your list down to is three communities — not too many, not too little, just right.
Make a list of pros and cons of the facilities you have so far selected to help you narrow your search. Then, you will save yourself some time by choosing the specific facilities that will be best for your loved one.
To make your life a little easier, free pro and con list templates are available online.
Senior Services of America specializes in managing and operating senior housing communities. Our focus is on providing residential, customer-service-oriented programs and services for senior citizens. We would be glad to discuss our numerous facilities with you during this overwhelming time.
#4: Tour the Facilities
There is no substitute for visiting an assisted living community — brochures, photos, reviews, and floor plans do not do it justice.
As mentioned in the previous section, you should visit three facilities. You should also visit these three facilities without your parents present.
It sounds counterproductive, but this step can be stressful and feel overwhelming to your loved one. When it’s overwhelming, the process can stall and become delayed.
There is a lot of paperwork and preparation your selected assisted living facility will have to do before your mom and dad move in, so the process does not need to be affected by any delays. But, unfortunately, it’s not as simple as signing a lease and then renting a moving van.
Another valid reason not to have your mom or dad present during these initial tours — odds are you will feel more comfortable asking any questions and stating any concerns you might have.
Before the tour, be sure to write down any questions you or your loved one has. For a list of questions to ask during your tours, AARP has a great checklist you can use.
#5: Visit With Your Parent
After touring your three facilities, decide on your top two choices and then take your parents on a tour. From this point, your parent(s) can choose which assisted living facility they like.
If you think selecting between two choices might be overwhelming for your parent(s), you can always take them to your top choice and save the second choice for a separate visit if they are not happy with the first.
#6: Offer Options
Specialized choices are an essential part of this process!
To help your parent(s) decide on an assisted living facility, it might be a good idea to provide them some options.
Your parent might enjoy selecting:
The layout of an apartment
The number of bedrooms and bathrooms in the apartment
Their kitchen appliances
The activities available at the facility
Types of available meals; and
Check with the facilities you visit and find out what options they have available for your parent(s) to select from.
#7: Finalize the Decision
Once an assisted living community has been selected, do not delay.
As mentioned earlier, the facility has a “to-do list” they will need to complete before your mom or dad moves in.
A few things that will need to be handled include:
Transferring medications to the facility; and
Power of Attorney
#8: Prepare for Moving Day
For most people, moving into an assisted living facility and leaving a home they have lived in for years can be overwhelming. There will be lots of emotions and unknowns for you and your parents.
Here are four ways you can help make moving day go more smoothly for you and your loved one.
Moving a parent to assisted living can be a tough transition. Do not be surprised if everyone involved experiences some intense emotions.
Your parents may mourn:
The passing of their younger years
Nearby friends and neighbors; or
The home they built.
They may be afraid of:
Making new friends
Having to depend on the kindness of strangers; or
Finding their way in a new place.
There's a good chance you are mourning all of them as well. Perhaps you are stressed and second-guessing yourself.
You may be asking yourself:
Were we too quick to act?
Did we overreact?
Did we wait too long?
Was this the best facility choice for Mom or Dad?
There will be guilt — it is inevitable, but, please know that all of these feelings are normal and do not last forever.
Determine Your Parent’s Role
Be sure to have your parents' role in moving day planned out.
You should ask your parents where they would like to be and what they would like to do on moving day as you plan the move.
Do they want to direct the action from the comfort of their easy chair? If not, have a family member keep them busy throughout the day. Your loved one may enjoy:
Participating in an activity at the assisted living facility
Visiting a Museum
Watching a movie
Any other favorite activity.
Keep your parents busy with whatever they enjoy so they will not have to worry on moving day.
Create a Plan
One of the hardest things for your parent(s) might be parting with belongings they have accumulated over a lifetime.
Before moving day, talk with your loved one to see where they would like various pieces of furniture and belongings.
Also, it is essential to make sure your aging parent(s) know where everything is. When it is easy for your parent(s) to find things, they will feel more in control of their environment.
To do this, you can:
Organize the closets
Have their necessities nearby; and
Invest in storage solutions such as baskets or bins.
Your goal is to make this new setting feel like home by having the apartment set up just the way your mom or dad would like.
Make it Special
This is a big day for everyone in your family, so make it special with a few special touches.
You might consider:
Putting up a "welcome home" banner
Surprising your parents with balloons in their apartment
Have special photos printed, framed, and displayed for a surprise present
Ordering a special meal for the first night; or
Anything else your parent might enjoy
The stress of moving day might be eased just by adding a few of these special touches.
Senior Services of America’s Assisted Living Communities: Providing Comfort and Care While Promoting Independence
Senior Services of America manages and operates senior housing communities. We operate several communities offering different care levels throughout the Pacific Northwest.
The residents of our assisted living facilities benefit from:
We also offer support services such as:
Medication management; and
Help with dressing and grooming.
While residents can remain independent, supportive services are readily available when needed.
When you are ready to begin searching for an assisted living facility for your loved one, we will be there. Find your nearest community to contact one of our advisors.