I once passed an advertising billboard while I was driving may years ago that read: “They’re The 10 Commandments, NOT The 10 Suggestions!” The humor and the truth of that message made me laugh when I read it. And the fact that I’ve never forgotten it is a testament to the effectiveness of that billboard.
Many of us learned The 10 Commandments in church or Sunday school. Did you know that the third commandment is all about honoring our parents? Though it’s hard to imagine how we’d ever repay our parents for all that they’ve done for us, those blessed to have parents that are living a long, good life have the opportunity to help and honor them as they grow older. Nearly one in four households now provides care to a parent or relative aged 50 or older and sometimes this care includes having their parents living with them.
If you’ll be including an elderly parent, relative, or friend as part of your inter-generational family move, here are Ten Suggestions (not commandments!) of things you can do that will help older adults experience an easier, happier, and smoother move.
Before You Move
1. Talk about the move openly and often. It is important to have clear, frank conversations about all aspects of the move and the new living situation, especially if it’s going to be to a smaller home or living space for your parents.
2. Start early. The sooner you start preparing an older person for their move, the better. This is particularly true if they’ll be downsizing to smaller living quarters. There will be many decisions for them to make. They probably don’t move as quickly (physically or mentally) as they used to. Giving them plenty of time will reduce frustration for everyone.
3. Scout out new resources ahead of time. Changing doctors, drug stores, grocery stores, and even hair dressers can be particularly stressful for the elderly. Do your homework and also find new social outlets, such as nearby senior centers for them.
4. Let them see the layout of your new home and their new living space. This will give them a chance to start preparing mentally as well as emotionally. It also will help them to begin thinking about what will fit (or not) and where and how.
5.Consider hiring a “Senior Move Manager.” These are professionals who specialize in assisting older adults and their families with the emotional and physical aspects of relocating. You can find more information about this option from the National Association of Senior Moving Managers www.nasmm.com.
And you can find the next five suggestions in my next blog!
Lara Taylor – Realtor/Broker
Twitter – @AskForLara