Your parents have been with you through all phases of life, from your first steps to graduation to the day you left the nest. As you entered adulthood, your relationship with them may have shifted from parent-to-child to more of a peer relationship, possibly even a close friendship!
As your parents age, they may start to rely on you for more support, just as you once did with them. They may begin requiring help with household chores, running errands, coordinating medical care, or even handling personal care activities. While you’re able to provide this support for a while, it could reach a point where you and your parents need to consider other care options, such as moving them into an assisted living community.
At first, the conversation may seem heartbreaking. Talking about life changes often can be! But moving a parent to assisted living can be one of the greatest gifts, for their safety, health, and wellness. Let’s take a look at how to move a parent to assisted living.
Deciding When It’s Time to Move a Parent to Assisted Living
Figuring out when to move a parent to assisted living can be tricky. It’s difficult to ask someone to shift into a less independent lifestyle. But when a parent can no longer safely care for himself or herself, what was once autonomy starts to feel much less free.
Your parent may start isolating more to avoid the embarrassment of being unpresentable in public, or to avoid having to navigate mobility challenges. If they have a condition like arthritis that causes them discomfort or pain, they may not be able to go out and enjoy the activities they used to. They may no longer be able to visit favorite restaurants or spend time with friends, due to new challenges.
If your parent is struggling to keep up with activities of daily living (ADLs) and you are unable to provide the ongoing support they need, it may be time to look into senior living options where they can have the perfect blend of freedom and support. Here are some activities of daily living (ADLs) your parent may be struggling with:
If your parent struggles with any of these ADLs, they likely will require some help managing their day-to-day life. Your parent may also be having difficulty keeping up with routine tasks like household chores, grocery shopping, or paying their bills.
Six Steps for Moving a Parent to Assisted Living
Once you and your parent have talked about their future and moving them to assisted living, it’s time to start planning and preparing for the move! Here are six steps to help you move a parent to assisted living, from organizing their affairs to moving day and beyond!
1. Research Assisted Living Options
Step one: do your research! There are many different kinds of senior living facilities, and each one is unique. Start looking at facilities with an assisted living community near you or your parent’s hometown, depending on where they want to live. We recommend looking for an assisted living community that offers customized care services, giving your parent help with only the ADLs they struggle with and giving them the independence to handle the rest of their routines.
It can also be helpful to have a short checklist as you research, based on what matters most to your parent. For example, is it important for them to stay in the same part of town where they previously lived? Are they looking for a vibrant community with lots of fun activities? Are they interested in faith-based senior living? Understanding key priorities can help guide your search.
2. Tour Facilities
Once you’ve found a few options that fit your parent’s needs, schedule tours with each facility. Try to bring your parent along if possible so they can get an idea of their options and make an informed decision. As you tour each facility, bring along some questions you have after researching the community. Some questions you may want to ask include:
- How much variety do you offer with meals?
- Do you have specific visitor hours?
- What amenities do you offer?
- What kinds of activities and entertainment do you provide?
- Are assisted living apartments furnished? Can we bring our own furniture?
- What is your pet policy?
- Are all ADLs included, or do some include an extra fee?
After researching and touring various assisted living facilities, you should be able to narrow it down to the most ideal for you and your parent! Talk to your contact with that facility about availability so you can set an official move-in date and work through the paperwork.
3. Prepare Finances
As you’re looking into assisted living facilities, you should also start to understand the general cost of rent and meeting your parent’s care needs. Considering this, you should help your parent get their financial documents organized and join them in meeting a financial advisor.
While we provide a calculator for figuring out how current living expenses compare to the cost of living at St. Anthony’s, a financial advisor can help you organize the specifics and ensure you’re considering all of your options. Your parent is likely eligible for different financial assistance, such as Medicare, in addition to Social Security and their retirement fund, which can make assisted living much more affordable!
Odds are, the senior living apartment your parent will be moving into doesn’t have as much space as their current living situation. This means it’s time to downsize! Check out our downsizing guide here, and try to be very sensitive to how your parent is feeling about downsizing. It’s hard to get rid of sentimental possessions, but this is a great time for them to think about what matters most!
5. Get Ready to Move
As moving day approaches, make sure you have all of your ducks in a row. Paperwork completed, downsizing just about done, financial and legal documents in order, and your parent’s move-in date locked in! Keep checking in with your parent to ensure they feel good about the process and know what to expect. If possible, set up a time for them to meet the caregivers in advance so they know who will be helping them once they move in.
6. Moving Day!
The big day is here! Stay close to your parent throughout this process, as it can be overwhelming, and they need to feel your support. Help them get all of their pictures hung and decorations set up right when they move in so it can begin to feel like home in their new apartment.
To celebrate the move-in, we suggest joining your loved one for dinnertime with their fellow residents. Enjoying dinner together will help them feel comfortable and know that you’re with them every step of the way!
We’re Excited to Welcome Your Parent Home!
While we don’t have the decades of history with your parent that you do, you can rest assured we will treat them like family. St. Anthony’s isn’t just a senior living facility — we’re a community of residents and staff who genuinely love each other and care about each other’s happiness and well-being. When your parent moves into assisted living at St. Anthony’s, they become part of our family!
Contact us to schedule a tour and get to know us in person!