As your parents age and their mobility declines the prospect of moving them closer to home is a daunting undertaking. An aging parent might already have difficulty walking around their nursing home let alone a busy airport. Here are 10 tips to moving your elderly mother.
1. Consult with your Care Facility
Your current care facility staff can best assess your mom or dad’s condition. Their opinion matters in selecting the mode of transport best suited to your needs. Is their condition too fragile to fly or drive? Do they have to recline or laydown? The facility staff will help you to make this judgement call.
Above all else do what YOU feel most comfortable with. Moving is a stressful time and any issues could potentially affect the well being of your mom or dad.
2. Research your options
Now that you have an assessment on their health condition, look into the most appropriate way to travel. If the trip is across town, your car might be enough. For long distance trips get to know the choices.
The safest way to relocate your elderly mother long distance is a medical transport. These services have medical staff and a variety of medical vehicles. For an in depth read look at our article, “Medical transportation for the elderly”
The biggest decision is if flying is an option or not. If it is arrange for a wheelchair at the airport. If it is not, look into various ground long distance options.
3. Ask your family members
Don’t make moving an elderly parent a solo activity. You need to be ready to take charge, but still ask other siblings or relatives for their input. Lastly don’t forget that your parent might have a preference too.
This will vary on the condition of your parent. Dementia and other conditions will mean that you need to make the decision for them but still treat them like adult children. See what Jeff Bevis says for more tips on being an adult child.
4. Have a realistic timeline
This move will take many months. The time it will take to identify the new facility can take anywhere from 2-5 weeks. After you identify the right assisted living facility it can be 1-2 months before they have a room open for your transfer.
Some health insurance plans require an ‘out of state pass’. These passes can take 2-6 weeks to acquire when crossing state lines. Start both efforts at the time instead of waiting for one to finish.
Lastly, if you are going to use a medical transport service research them and pick your top two providers before the assisted living space becomes available. There are a lot of transport providers to sift through and they each have different availability once you are ready to move.
5. Identify what’s most important
Don’t expect everything to go the way you want. Whether it’s working within a certain budget, traveling a certain way, or having things go according to ‘plan’. The new assisted living community might not have all the space or amenities as the current one.
Do you really need all of your parents belongings? Consider downsizing the recliner and tv and either buy new or go without them at the new facility. Change is hard, so don’t make it harder by focusing on the small stuff.
6. Consider a moving company
There are many moving companies that can assist with a move like this. Black Tie movers have especially good reviews. There are many others out there to consider. It’s worth noting that Jitterbug Medical Transport provides the moving assistance for free in addition to caring for your loved.
You can also consider long term storage units. There’s plenty of storage options out there and maybe you want to organize the items later. You can use a storage finding service, such as SpareFoot, to find and compare prices for all of the best storage facilities near you. That way you can be sure that you are getting the best deal without spending a lot of time researching prices on your own.
7. Travel with them
A senior move is hard. Waiting anxiously for them to arrive while you drive is a plan for disaster. Make a plan so that you are traveling with them either by plane, car, or medical transport.
8. Pack food
You wouldn’t go hiking without a napsack full of food. Likewise don’t leave your travel plans up to chance and pack food ahead of time. Be sure to have a mix of soft foods: pita pocket bread, peanut butter, yogurt, nuts etc.
If you are flying you might be out of luck. If having the right foods is very important this might tilt the scale to a ground transport option.
9. Bring the adult diapers
Don’t leave nature's call up to chance. Encourage, enforce, and beg your loved one to wear an adult diaper while traveling. Senior living can tell you more about this option.
10. Have a medical folder
You are essentially the move manager for your elderly loved one. Don’t leave anything to chance and have a binder with their full medical history. If an incident occurs you’ll want to immediately hand the medical binder to medical personnel so they can assist further.
Moving older adults is a daunting undertaking. The safest transport for the elderly is a medical transport. Through careful planning you can bring your loved one closer to home without any major incidents.