Should Mum & Dad Move House?
Moving home later in life can be fraught with challenges, whence we might need more support and more thoughtfulness in how we even approach the topic. Our parent, or parents will most likely not be easy by any part of the process (or subject), but there are some key things to think through before talking to them.
Communication is critical, so it is important for family members to talk through everyone’s feelings first as well as the facts. Everyone involved can then share their thoughts and give suggestions on how best to move forward. It is helpful to talk sooner rather than later as it may take time to work out what the best options are and even before that to realise what is best for the future. There are many ‘tripwires to negotiate’.
The elderly person or couple, must be able to make their own choices as much as possible, however capable that they might be i.e. even if there is advanced dementia, then they must still take part in some way. If there are differences of opinion or problems discussing these things, then it might be helpful to have a trusted mediator to guide the conversation and surface the objectives – e.g. Independent Living Advisers helps many people this way, and we could help you too.
Some of the things to consider, when moving include:
The level of care that is required – not only today, but in the future too as needs change
Each family member’s role in the move or transition
Where to move to and the service available in all areas that align to needs now and later.
What sort of living arrangements and the advantages and disadvantages of each e.g. if it is assisted living or independent living, or a retirement village, or maybe a care home or nursing home, or remaining in one’s own home with or without live-in care. Or maybe a move to live with family or simply to a smaller home on their own and perhaps pay for some support or care?
The financials (i.e. the cost of long-term care and what is affordable etc.)
Whether a family member needs to take time off work to care for the older person or parent.
The idea of moving can seem insurmountable at the best of times; but when there is ill-health or even difficulty with everyday tasks then moving to a new house can seem tortuous.
Should your parent move in with you?
Living with an elderly parent or parents could be an option. Things to consider:
How far away are other siblings and do they want to be involved in some way i.e. will they share responsibilities, or can they manage other responsibilities such as the finances.
Will anyone feel that they have taken-on too much responsibility, and will they need help with care, and indeed when should we introduce a care agency.
Whether the parent or parents can maintain a degree of autonomy, independence and even self-respect and dignity when they live in the same property as a son or daughter.
Once a decision has been made about living arrangements, then preparing for an actual move will be a further challenge:
A downsize will take time to sort out, with possessions to give away to family, to charity, or to sell or dispose of.
Decisions of what to keep and give away will require time to agree these things - even more when within families.
Time to settle into a new home and whether family might consider staying to help the settling-in process, which will help an older person/s to get used to a new routine; and then decide whether they need a housekeeper or other aspects of support or care.
But my mum/dad suffers from Dementia!
Dementia affects people in different ways, so it will depend on how advanced the dementia is and how manageable the situation is. In the early stages, it is important to involve an older person as much as possible to make choices. When the dementia is more advanced, then there is a need for more help: for example, an appointed power of attorney has to make decisions , and even then the older person still needs to be included in the conversations and make some choices during the process of moving as much is possible. It may be helpful to discuss with a professional like a doctor or dementia nurse or social worker for more information or advice with a move to a new house for your relative/older person.
At Independent Living Advisers (ILA.life) we can help in many ways; as we give advice on moving an elderly person and make suggestions to help the process. We refer suitable people to help elders with support to prepare for downsizing and to be ready for a move.
For more information visit https://www.ila.life/