Is it Time For My Parents To Move?

National Institute on Aging

The decision about whether your parents should move is often tricky and emotional. Each family will have its own reasons for wanting (or not wanting) to take such a step. One family may decide a move is right because the parents no longer need so much space or cannot manage the home. For another family the need for hands-on care in a long-term care facility motivates a change. In some cases, a move frees up cash so that the parent can afford a more suitable situation.

In the case of long-distance caregivers, the notion of moving can seem like a solution to the problem of not being close enough to help. For some caregivers, moving a sick or aging parent to their own home or community can be a viable alternative. In some cases, an adult child moves back to the parent's home to become the primary caregiver. Keep in mind that leaving a home, community, and familiar medical care can be very disruptive and difficult.

Older adults and their families have some choices when it comes to deciding where to live, but these choices can be limited by factors such as illness, financial resources, and personal preferences. Making a decision that is best for your parent-and making that decision with your parent-can be difficult. Try to learn as much as you can about possible housing options.

Older adults, or those with serious illness, can:

  • stay in their own home, or move to a smaller one,
  • move to an assisted living facility or retirement community,
  • move to a long-term care facility, or
  • move in with another family member.

Experts advise families to think carefully before moving an aging adult into an adult child's home. In its fact sheet Home Away From Home, the Family Caregiver Alliance suggests considering the following issues before deciding whether or not to move your parent to your home:

  • Evaluate whether your parent needs constant supervision or assistance throughout the day, and consider how this will be provided.
  • Identify which activities of daily living (eating, bathing, toileting) your parent can perform independently.
  • Determine your comfort level for providing personal care such as bathing or changing an adult diaper.
  • Take an honest look at your health and physical abilities, and decide if you are able to provide care for your parent.
  • Expect changes in your parent's medical or cognitive condition.
  • Explore the availability of services such as a friendly visitor, in-home care, or adult day services.
  • Investigate back-up options if living with your parent does not work or is not your choice.
  • Consider the type of medical care your parent needs and find out if appropriate doctors and services are available in your community.

©2007 National Institute of Aging


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