Episode 024: Day 15 – Helping Mom & Dad Move

Episode Description:

Host Zack Demopoulos launches his 30 day preparation plan to care for an aging adult.  In Day 15, Zack talks about what is involved when it is time for your parents to down size and move.

Show Notes:

Day 15:  Helping Mom & Dad Move

How do you prepare your aging parents to move from a home that they have possibly lived in most if not all their adult lives?  What kind of support do you need to give them as they go through what can be a very stressful and anxious time?  And what about you—who is going to help you move them?  We’ll discuss this topic on Day 15 of the 30 Day Preparation Plan To Care For An Aging Parent.

Welcome to the Raising ‘Rents Podcast.  This show is sponsored by ComForCare, a national home care provider that will help you live your best life possible.  Day 15 of the 30 Day Preparation Plan is the next step in preparing a plan to become a caregiver. Keep in mind as we go throughout this process that our primary goal for family caregiving, regardless of circumstances, is to provide a loved one with a comfortable, caring environment in which to grow old.

IF you can, think about your last visit to Mom or Dad’s home.  Can you picture the inside? I imagine there are a lot of memories and memorabilia all over that home either in the basement, the attic, the closets, or all over the walls.  This generation did not move around a lot unless perhaps they were in the military or in a job that required they move frequently, I am willing to guess that the majority of you have parents that have lived most of their adult lives in their home.  It’s a big decision to move and that is a whole other topic.  It is a bigger deal when you plan and make the move.  The good news is that there are some great resources out there to help you, especially if you are a long-distance adult kid or even if you are local…with the busy lives we try to balance, a little help can go a long way and help you focus on Mom and Dad as they go through this emotional time.

I have a met in my industry a few professionals who are “one stop shop” providers when it comes to moving aging parents.  This includes finding a new home if that has not been decided yet, putting the house on the market if that is what you decide to do, pack mom and dad up, move them, and unpack.

The attractive part to companies like this is that they are accustomed to working with older adults and their families and can be helpful in making this a smooth transition.  A little compassion goes a long way.  What you don’t want are packers or movers that have no regard for what your parents or you are going through.  I have seen folks like this even help with estate sales and helping Mom and Dad make decisions on what to keep and what to donate or sell or get rid of.  You would be amazed how much more comfortable your parent is with a third-party person in letting things go than perhaps with a family member.  This even helps you let things too.  This also helps you because you can spend more time with Mom and Dad and support them with their decisions and needs rather than juggling many balls and being stretched logistically and emotionally.  And here is another perk you may not have thought about…. or do not want to think about.  Third party people can be facilitators and help with sensitive issues like who gets what when downsizing your parents’ home.  Family feuds exist and can occur during times like this.

Jennifer Bradley of Today’s Caregiver Blog, wrote an article about a professional called a senior move manager.  There is an association out there that operates as a nonprofit and is full of them.  The National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) specializes in moving seniors.  Go to the site and type in your parent’s zip code and you will find senior move managers in your area.  I typed in my office’s zip code and 38 popped up.  The site also has a lot of good information that will be helpful as you plan your parents’ move.

Like any service you hire, you should do your due diligence and ask for references and call those references.  This is too important to rush it.  Just because someone calls themselves a senior move manager may not make them “senior sensitive” as in understanding your parents needs and yours.  Here are some other questions you should ask them as well:

  • How long have you been providing senior move services? What have you found to be the biggest challenges?  What are your suggestions for those challenges?
  • What are your professional credentials?
  • Do you have full liability and worker’s compensation insurance?
  • What are your fees?
  • Can you provide everything in writing?

The cost is a wide range as you can imagine so you’ll have to shop around.  Like anything involving your parents and your own life, do not back off immediately if the price is high.  Weigh out all the factors, especially the time and value you will get back from hiring a service like this that you can use with your parents as you support them.  Especially if the move is in result of an event like an illness or a loss of a spouse.  Your parent deserves the extra TLC—tender love and care—you can provide if you free up your time and energy with all the logistics.

Jennifer in this same article also lists some tools that will make the planning and organizing part of this go a little smoother.  She also mentions some tips that I wanted to share with you.  For the full list, refer to her article which I have in the show notes on our website www.raisingrents.com.

Plan way ahead, go slow, start small.

The more time in advance, especially when your parents are relatively healthy and involved in the process, the better.  Many conversations should take place about all the aspects of moving like where is the next home going to be and what can they afford? What is their home worth and how will that fit into the equation?  What is involved in putting it on the market?  What repairs or maintenance need to be done? When do they think is the appropriate time to make the move and when do you?

Do not rush them.  This is not easy for anyone, especially your parents who as we have said, have probably lived in their home for many decades.

Start in small chunks, baby steps, allow the emotions to flow and be somewhat managed.  There are sentimental things everywhere.  Communicate and respect their needs—be very nice to them during this tough time.  Take pictures!  That is a great tip—they will want to look back at them when they start feeling a sense of loss or depressed.

And be sure to plan for the day of the move.  Think about things like will it be easier to sell the home before during or after they move?  Will it be better to have it rented for a while first?  Where will your parents stay during the physical move?  Who will clean the house after the move and make sure it is ready for sale or move in by new owners or renters?  Will things be unpacked when Mom and Dad move in to their new home or will they want to be a part of that?  Make sure they are involved in the decision making.  Any signs of you taking control over their lives will make them feel they are not only losing their home but their independence and will not make the transition a smooth one.

Personally, I have seen many moves occur under these circumstances and they usually go smooth.  The biggest challenge I tend to see is that a caregiver like you is trying to manage the whole thing and things get upsetting and stressful.   I have also seen the parents reluctantly move and be miserable.  This is easily avoided by having those conversations way early, even years before they must move.  That way, even when an event occurs that forces them to move, they will have thought about it, planned for it, and be prepared as so will you and the rest of the family.

So that’s Day 15.  Join us for Day 16 as we talk about scams targeted against older adults like your parents

Thank you for listening to the Raising ‘Rents podcast.  This was Episode 24.  If you have any questions or feedback, please go to our website www.raisingrents.com and click on the “Contact” tab.  You can also find the show notes and references to anything we talked about.  Until we talk again, remember that our parents raised us, the least we can do is help raise them. Talk to you later.

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