Leaving a house filled with priceless memories and milestones can be daunting for anyone. It is a stressful process, but it can also change someone’s life for the better. As seniors age, their current house might no longer meet their evolving needs and age-related health conditions, making it crucial to consider a new home where they are able to safely and happily age in place.
If your parents are planning to move to a new home, senior living community, or condo, they may not enjoy the moving process. Discussing the move with them as a first step is important, but be careful not to push them or invade their personal space.
Need advice on how to talk to elderly parents about moving without creating disputes? Here is our list of 8 tips on how to talk to your parents about moving.
Relocating Your Parents: Tips on How to Talk About “The Move”
Since a house symbolizes a lifetime of memories and milestones, relocating can make your parents hesitant or even resistant to the idea of ever moving out of their beloved home.
When your parents move to a smaller house or senior living community, they may face various challenges. Seniors often fear the unknown and the difficulties of moving and may find it hard to leave behind their neighbors. It’s important to be mindful of these factors.
Moving or relocating can be scary, but correctly approaching it can positively change your parents’ lives. Change can also be invigorating, allowing your parents to break out of their comfort zones, broaden their horizons, and discover new people and places in their new town.
Here are a few tips on how to talk to your parents about moving to a new home.
Tips on How to Talk to Your Parents About Moving
Educate Yourself First
To best guide your parents through the moving process, educating yourself first is essential. Put yourself in their shoes and gather information on elder care and moving.
Each senior thrives differently in different living situations, so understanding their needs is crucial. With this knowledge, you can confidently discuss the topic with your parents without making them uncomfortable.
Prepare a List of Conversation Starters
Don’t surprise your parents by diving into the conversation about moving. Prepare a list of conversation starters to ease into the discussion.
By asking questions, you can encourage your parents to express their feelings and desires, making them feel valued. You’ll also gain insight into their current living situation and can suggest solutions to accommodate them in their new home better.
Here are some helpful questions to ask:
- How does it feel when living alone?
- How do you feel about driving around?
- Do you feel lonely sometimes?
- Do you feel safe when living in your home?
- Do you have a long-term care plan?
- Do you have any suggestions for making your life easier?
- Are you struggling with the upkeep bills and expenses of your house?
- Would you feel less stressed if you had fewer responsibilities for your house?
- Are you interested in moving to an area closer to amenities?
- Are you interested in spending more time with other people of your age?
Explain Why Moving Is Critical
After living in the same house for too long, your parents might not be aware of the problems with their home and why they need to move.
Debunk this misconception first before moving on to other steps. Remember to mention the pros and cons of moving.
When addressing the reasons behind moving, consider the following aspects:
- House Maintenance Challenges: Homeownership comes with freedom but also high responsibilities. While house and yard maintenance is a must-do, the tasks can be increasingly daunting and interfere with how your parents lead their lives, particularly during winter. Moving to a new home with less maintenance work can give your parents greater peace of mind, knowing they won’t have to get up and mow the lawn every four days or shovel the snow every winter morning. If your parents move into a senior community, they will be pleased to know that their responsibilities in this area are zero.
- The House Is No Longer a Safe Place: A higher level of safety is the primary benefit of moving to a new home. For instance, an enclosed house with narrow pathways can be challenging to navigate, mainly for seniors who are in wheelchairs. Once a blessing to a family of five or six, a two- or three-story home can quickly become an ordeal for your parents as they have to climb the stairs every day. In addition, a bathroom without anti-slip strips can increase the risk of falling. Explain to your parents that their current house might not meet their future needs and physical conditions over time. Moving to a safer place as soon as possible is the best preparation for healthy aging.
- Closer to Friends and Families: Moving closer to families and friends can foster more relaxation and contentment, reducing the feelings of loneliness and isolation in seniors. Moving your parents closer to their families and friends is an excellent way to help them have more outing experiences while achieving healthy aging. Living closer makes providing care and monitoring their health conditions easier if you are their primary caregiver.
Make the Talk Worthwhile
Approach the topic with the utmost respect to their feelings and avoid discussing such a serious matter through the phone or video chat.
Instead, ask your parents for the most convenient time and date for a face-to-face talk or take them out for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner, where both sides can discuss and contemplate the matter over tasty meals in a private setting. Sometimes, good foods can help connect people better!
In order not to stress your parents, move at a steady pace and avoid asking too many questions all at once. Take the time to listen to their inputs and concerns. This initial conversation will pave the way for a serious discussion moving forward.
Discuss Senior Living Alternatives
In addition to a new, smaller house, expand your parents’ options by including a variety of senior living alternatives. Perhaps they may prefer an assisted living community to a smaller place, especially if they want to avoid the hassles of home chores.
Other options for senior living arrangements worth exploring include:
- Assisted living communities.
- Independent living residences.
- Continue-care retirement communities.
- Home-sharing communities.
- Active senior housing.
Help your parents understand the critical features of each housing option and discuss the pros and cons. Remember to look into their finances to see if they have enough financial resources.
Get on the Same Page
When it comes to moving, you and your parents might share different opinions and perspectives on essential features when moving to a new house. For example, your parents might be interested in a place surrounded by many green spaces and amenities within short distances, while you — as a caregiver — might prioritize their overall safety and prefer a house in a low-crime area.
Take your time to find out what your parents want regarding housing and identify the most important criteria for everyone before making the final decision. This will get you and your parents on the same page and able to make a choice that satisfies everyone.
Discuss the Downsizing
When bringing up the downsizing part, be respectful and sensitive. Sorting through things and deciding what to keep or get rid of can be time-consuming, as your parents may find themselves dwelling on their possessions or memories of their old home.
Support them by making a list of things, set those items aside, and let your parents be in charge of what to do with them: throw away, keep, or give away. Often, giving things away is a better approach to ensure that your parents’ precious keepsakes find new homes rather than brutally ending up in the trash bin.
Offer Your Support and Assistance
Your presence and support can make a difference when your parents are standing at a crossroads. Of course, interfering with their decisions is never a good idea. Act as a guiding person and only give advice when necessary.
Keep a safe distance but remind your parents that you are there to offer guidance and assistance if they ever need you. Moving out doesn’t happen overnight, so keep a positive attitude and be flexible even if your parents refuse your recommendations. Who knows, they might change their minds one day.
If you have questions about how to talk to elderly parents about moving or any topics discussed here, connect with us and learn more.
At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while leading fulfilling lives. 12 Oaks senior living communities are an ideal place to enjoy the encore season of life.
For questions or to schedule a personalized tour, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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