Checklist for Moving Elderly Parents


Moving elderly parents to assisted living is a major and often difficult transition. Most children of elderly parents do not have serious conversations with their parents about the transition until a crisis happens to make the need for a move apparent. During a crisis, for example a parent falling and breaking their hip, gathering all the necessary information, making financial preparations, and getting the family to agree on what to do next creates a stressful mess.

Have the Conversation 

The best way to make the big change of moving manageable is to start talking to elderly parents now. It’s important to be considerate when talking about moving. Expert Stella Henry, R.N., author of The Eldercare Handbook (HarperCollins, 2006) suggests that you, “make it your problem instead of your parent’s problem. Henry explains, “If you say ‘you have to do this, or do that, ‘you’ll lose them. Instead say something like, ‘Mom, I’m concerned about you; it makes me worried to see you like this.” Genuine, honest communication usually gets the best results.

It is also important to have conversations with the rest of the family. It is very important to keep siblings on the same page so no one is undermining each other. Sometimes it is most helpful to establish one sibling that will act as the main advocate for the elderly parents. Having a main advocate often makes organization easier.

Moving Checklist

Sean Kell, CEO of A Place for Mom, created a checklist of administrative information to gather when moving elderly parents. Here’s a summary:

  • Medical Records List of medications? Medical power of attorney form?
  • Doctor Contact Information
  • Insurance Information
  • Finances Do they qualify for veterans benefits? Who will handle the bank account? What is affordable?
  • What do your parents want? Who do they want making decisions for them when they cannot? Do they have special wishes that they want to be honored? Treatments they want or would like to refuse?

Helping Elderly Parents Transition into a New Home

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