How to Move Your Elderly Parents or Loved Ones

As we get older many of us will reach a point where we start to worry about our parent’s health and living conditions. We want our parents to stay as healthy as they can and live independently if possible, but there will come a time when we need to help them with common daily activities. Many of the times parents feel that they will be a burden on their children when it comes to these and healthcare needs.

These feelings come natural and they do not need to be hidden or frowned upon by your loved ones. You and your parents should have this conversation sooner than later and start planning for this type of event.

When to have the Conversation About Moving

This conversation is a lot of the times avoided until the minute, deciding when to have this conversation is a tough one. You need to think about your parent’s safety to live in their home. You must take into consideration what it takes to run their home from daily chores to bathing to possible repairs. Some of these issues can cause health issues and/or dangerous living conditions. There is also the possibility that your loved ones can no longer live on their own mentally or physically. Dr. Sidney Katz developed a concept called Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) which will give you a good idea if you should move your parents and what type of healthcare they will need. The ADLs concept is comprised of six daily functions that make it success for living on their own. They are:

  • Bathing
  • Eating
  • Going to the Bathroom
  • Controlling When to go to the bathroom.
  • Getting out of bed
  • Getting dressed

Katz’s method of activities is graded on a call of zero to one, zero if they are not able to complete the daily task and one if they can complete on a regular basis. The higher the number, the more independently your parents can live, whereas the lower the number the more help they will need to complete these tasks. Besides the ADLs method, there are other telltale signs that you should look out for that can also show that they are no longer able to live on their own. These include:

  • Poor Hygiene: As we get older, we are not able to move or have the same flexibility we had when you were younger. If you are noticed an unpleasant smell from your loved one, this may indicate he or she may not be taking care of themselves the way they should be. There are facilities that offer bathing services that may be attractive to your loved ones.
  • Isolation: As seniors get older, you may notice that they begin to isolate themselves from family, friends, and the outside world. This can cause unhealthy habits and increase their mortality rate. There are many causes such as loss of family and/or friends or a loss of a spouse. A lot of time your loved ones believe they will become a burden on their children due to this, so therefore they start isolating themselves.
  • Worsening Health: Humans as they get older are more susceptible to diseases like dementia and heart disease. These issues can make it difficult for them to live alone.
  • Mess Living Area: When you visit them in their home pay attention to how the home looks not only on the inside but the outside. Loved ones may lose their capacity to clean up are themselves. Having an untidy, dirty household can be a host to a disease, including infection. This can severely impact seniors more than younger people.

Where to Move

One of the most important steps in the moving process is deciding where the best place is for them to live. By using the ADLs method mentioned above will help you determine how well they can still function and what type of help they will need as they get older. Some of the potential living possibilities includes:

  • Retirement Communities: These types of communities are usually catered to people 55+. They are a great place to relax and mingle with other couples and singles of the same age. Retirement communities usually are just like towns and cities where they have grocery stores, entertainment areas, and exercise facilities. These types of living areas are mainly for people that can still function and can live relatively independent.
  • Assisted Living: This is the mid ground between retirement communities and nursing homes. They offer 24/7 care, however people that do live here can still complete most of the ADLs on their own. Most of the time all their meals are prepared for them and there are scheduled entertainment events for them to socialize with each other.
  • Nursing Homes: These types of facilities offer round the clock care for anyone that cannot maintain living on their own and cannot complete basic living skills. If your loved ones are in getting to the point to needing this type of care, nursing homes are going to be one of their best options.

You can always move your loved ones into your own home. There are many reasons as to why you would want them in your home. One of the most popular reason is that you can monitor their health. The issue with this is that it can take up a lot of your time and can causes issues because you may not be able to be with them 24/7 if you need to work. It can also weigh heavily on your financial situation as well. You can hire a caregiver for when you are not home, but this can come with a hefty price tag. You can be looking to spend anywhere between $5,000 to $10,000 a year on in-home care. It is important to look over your budget and see if it is possible or it may be time to investigate the other types of facilities.

Handling the Move

This can be a hectic and stressful day for you and your loved ones, especially if they are being stubborn or feeling antsy about the changes. Follow these steps to help ensure that the moving process goes as smoothly as possible, which well help your loved ones not feel like a burden.


One of the most important parts of moving your loved ones is communication. You will want to make sure that not only are they are on the same page, but everyone else that is helping with the move. There may be disagreements that arise, but you will need to have all dialogue to be consistent and open. You will want to start the moving process conversation early before the final decision. This will allow time for any feelings to be expressed.

Agree on a Place

Before the moving process can start you and your loved ones will need to decide on the place. It needs to be based on their need of care. Whether it is moving into your home or to a nursing home, you will want to discuss and come to a desired agreement. If you have decided on a type of facility listed above, you will want to visit some of them in your area. Schedule appointments to have walk throughs and where you can talk to residents and faculty. You want to make sure that your loved ones will feel comfortable and it will be an easy place for them to move. Also take into consideration of budget, check with your parents’ insurance to see if they will cover any of the costs. You should consider how much money you will be spending out of pocket as well.

Detail Each Step of the Move

This entire process should be laid out in a plan before you start the actual move. Mark on a calendar when packing will begin, when the new move in date is, what will they be able to bring with them, etc. It is important to also help your parents with ordering moving boxes and moving supplies. Especially in this type of move you will need to help them declutter their home. Figure out what needs to be sold and what can be donated.

Get the Family Involved

Getting the whole family involved will help show that they are loved and that everyone agrees with the decision. If you are not able to get enough family to help with the move, hire a moving company. This way, the stress and burden does not fall completely on the family.

Clean the Old Place

Once everything is the is moved out of the old place and into the new residence, it will be important to clean and do any repairs needed. This can give a sense of closure for your parents with sending off their old home to their kids. Whether you are keeping the home or selling it, you need to give the home a good once over. Paint the walls, renovate rooms, etc. This will make sure to have the home in top shape when putting it on the market.

Settling in the New Place

The moving process is complete. Your parents or loved ones are now living in their respected facility. It is time for them to get accustomed to this new lifestyle. You will want to spend time with them, especially if the facility allows and promotes family visits, but do not make it overbearing on them with the number of visits. Give them time to explore their new residence and let them experience it. Visit them somewhat frequently, this will give them a familiar face in an unfamiliar living arrangement. This may also help them become more social with everyone else in the facility.