Moving an elderly parent from their Windsor house, perhaps one they have lived in for many years, is never an easy proposition. In fact, it can be down right difficult. However, it’s a problem that most of us must face at one time or another. As the population ages, many of us are preparing for that talk with our senior citizens that a home has become too large and difficult to maintain. This is particularly upsetting when an older parent doesn’t feel the time is right to move or maybe wants to wait. Certainly, this is a personal decision that each and every family member must confront and work on together, especially when your suggestion is met with resistance. Here are some helpful hints that you may want to consider if this problem is facing you and your family.
1. Do your best to keep your emotions at check. This of course, is often easier said than done, but if you and family members can remain calm and focused when discussing this issue, the conversation can have a bigger impact. Remember, that moving away from a home that has been an elderly parent’s address for too many years to count, is a sense of security for them so there is a very good chance they may become emotional and defensive. Be prepared, but again, stay focused. If the conversation looks like it’s not going anywhere, then you may need to pursue it at a later time.
2. Carefully explain why this is a good decision. A practical, detailed conversation, void of emotions, where you clearly express the reasons for why a senior parent needs to move is more effective than a rambling off the cuff explanation. Stray from discussing the old home, but rather keep the attention on the new home, and the benefits they will gain. Talk about an easier lifestyle where they can focus on their hobbies as opposed to household responsibilities. And remember, keep the attention away from your wants and needs. Don’t tell them that you don’t want to worry anymore as this rarely goes over well.
3. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you tell your parent they can always move back to their home, or they can move in with a family member if they don’t like their new home, they may very well hold you to it.
4. Do your research. Make sure that you give your parents information that you know they will ask. If they are concerned about costs, then show them what their new household budget and expenses will be. Let them see various apartments or housing units, meet the new neighbours or others living in the facility.
5. Give them time. This is not a subject that should be rushed and immediately decided if there isn’t a sudden health emergency. There is a good chance you will be met with some resistance, so if this is the case, take some time off and give them plenty of time to absorb the information. And most of all, be understanding as no doubt we may very well be in this situation ourselves one day. Treat them as you would want to be treated.
6. Older parents that are considering moving often feel they will lose their sense of security. Let them know that they will not be alone and that you are with them every step of the way. Again, take tours of prospective homes or care assisted facilities. Let them know their opinion is encouraged. If they don’t like something, listen to them.
7. Last by not least, don’t punish yourself if you feel like you are letting your parent down. There are resources available that can help you as you and your family reach this delicate point in a parent’s care. It’s never easy, but it is something that needs to be done. But above all else, keep the conversation focused and calm and keep in mind that it may not be settled over night. It’s overwhelming to move for anyone, but for a person that has lived in a home for a long time, possibly raised their children here, celebrated holidays and important events, it’s a painful and heart wrenching decision to leave. And finally, many parents feel uncomfortable about downsizing their belongings, so pay careful attention to that subject as well.