Co-Authors: Annabelle Harris blogs at Elders Center and Gagan Bhalla at Care Mountain. Annabelle’s goal is to help seniors move gracefully into their golden years with less fear and more confidence. Gagan’s goal at Care Mountain is to provide trusted in-home care services to seniors across the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex. Care Mountain has served over 3000 families across DFW over the past 17 years.
Together, Annabelle and the team at Care Mountain bring you a thoughtful, simple, and effective guide to caring for your loved one with Alzheimer’s
Moving Closer to an Older Loved One: How To Know It’s Time, and What You Can Do To Make the Transition Easier
In a phenomenon known as “reverse migration,” more adult children are moving great distances to be closer to aging parents or loved ones. Many middle-aged adults have increasing levels of job flexibility, want a change of scenery, and/or find it easier to move themselves rather than their senior parents. Whatever your reasons are for wanting to relocate to Oceanside, California, to be with your older loved one, it’s important that you do not make the decision rashly. Consider these tips to make your transition as seamless as possible.
Make Sure Your Loved One Is Ready for You
It’s presumptuous to assume that just because your mom or dad is older that he or she wants or needs you near. That is not to say that parents do not crave the emotional connection physical closeness can offer — they likely do. However, if you relocate strictly for the purpose of “helping out,” your parents may come to resent your decision.
According to studies, older parents crave close connections with their children. However, when those connections come at the expense of their independence, they may resist help. If your motivation for moving is to help, make sure your loved one needs it. Some signs he or she does are:
- Decline in personal hygiene
- Growing stack of unpaid bills
- Sadness, loneliness, and depression
- Inability to perform daily tasks
- Spoiled food or no food in the fridge and kitchen
- More frequent in-home injuries
If your loved one does not need in-home help and you still want to move closer, make it clear that your motivation is personal. Also, include your parents in the decision and he or she will be more likely to support it.
Don’t Feel as If You Have To Do It All
Just because you are moving closer to a senior parent doesn’t mean you have to take on the responsibility of being his or her sole caregiver. One woman who moved into the same assisted living community as her mother said she sees her mom once a week. Her younger sister helps out, as do people who work there.
If you don’t have others who can help, consider hiring people who can. For instance, a landscaper can save you hours of caring for your parent’s yard each week. If you do decide to hire a landscaping or any other professional service, do your due diligence. Research landscapers online, gather quotes, and ask about credits and deals.
Prepare for Your Move
If you have time to plan for your move, prepare in advance by scouting out neighborhoods and saving up money for moving costs. If you still work, look for jobs in the area. Also, start looking for places to live. If you can, test the waters and get to know the neighborhood by staying with your parent for a week, month, or summer. Also, if you already own a home, you’ll need to prep the property for sale by addressing things like curb appeal, cleaning and decluttering, and repairs.
Use that time to assess whether your parent’s situation is still ideal. If it is not, approach the topic with him or her and explore other living situations. One idea is to place a prefab auxiliary dwelling unit on your new property, turning it into an in-law suite. You can also investigate one of the many senior living communities in the area.
Moving closer to an older parent is a big commitment, so you want to make sure both of you are ready for it. By following this advice, you can make the transition at the right time and with ease.