9 Things to Consider When Relocating an Aging Loved One
Moving an aging loved one to live nearby or with you isn’t always as easy as loading the person and their possessions into your car and a moving truck. Many older adults can’t withstand a long road trip without assistance or multiple stops. Others may need full-service medical transport.
To make the move as painless as possible, consider these nine steps to take when relocating a parent or senior loved one.
The Top 9 Things to Consider When Relocating an Aging Loved One
“If you’re going to move a parent, the first step is to get there physically,” says Joy Loverde, author of “Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old?“ Loverde says that being there “sends a comforting message that you’re there for them during this emotionally challenging time.”
“Plus, it’s easy to underestimate the work that goes into a move, especially if Dad or Mom has health needs,” she adds.
Here are nine other things to consider when relocating an aging loved one:
1. Choose appropriate transportation.
When Loverde moved her 84-year-old mom, along with her mother’s 85-year-old husband, Bill, who’d suffered a stroke, from Port Charlotte, Florida, to Chicago, the couple had differing needs. Her mother could fly, but Loverde arranged for a medical transport bus to drive Bill, who was prone to angry outbursts.
“It had a bed, an RN and two drivers,” says Loverde. “Even though it was expensive ($12,000), the staff could handle him and it gave my mom peace of mind.” You can also hire transportation companies such as RoundTrip, which offers non-emergency medical transportation such as medical cars and vans designed to transport people with extra needs such as oxygen tanks and wheelchairs.
2. Consider a travel companion.
“My mother was a highly anxious person,” says Koenig. “Having someone attend to her made all the difference and the move went smoothly.”
3. Consult a care manager.
If your parent or senior loved one has health issues, consider hiring a geriatric care manager in the destination city.
A care manager is familiar with local health care providers, in-home care agencies, senior living communities and volunteer resources. A care manager can also arrange advanced medical transport for the move.
4. Don’t assume both people in a couple are on the same page.
If you’re relocating your parents, Dad may be all for it. But what if Mom won’t get on board? One person may be vocal about their unwillingness to move, or that person could instead try to talk a spouse or significant other out of it behind the scenes.
If one person in the couple doesn’t want to move, approach the other and ask for help persuading the reluctant one, says Loverde.
5. Don’t forget social outlets.
“Maintaining an active lifestyle goes a long way toward mental and physical well-being,” says Nicole Rochester, M.D., CEO of Your GPS Doc, a patient advocacy and healthcare consulting company.
Provide your parent or senior loved one with a list of activities and resources available to seniors such as community centers, outings and transportation services. If he or she will be living in a senior living community, find out which activities and events are offered.
6. Factor in airport mobility.
If flying is the best option, book non-stop flights to avoid plane changes for those with mobility issues. If nonstop isn’t an option, book a direct flight, which has a stop but doesn’t require changing planes.
Contact the airline in advance with special requests such as boarding assistance, curb-to-gate escort or special seating accommodations.
7. Hire the right real estate agent.
Family members often delay listing a parent or senior loved one’s home or set the price too high, says Michael Zschunke, a real estate agent in Scottsdale, Arizona. “You have 30 days to sell a home. This is when you have the most eyes looking at your property. If you don’t get that price just right, the home will sit in the market,” says Zschunke. “The longer a home sits, the more it costs the seller. Hire an honest agent that will price the home to sell quickly.”
Also, choose one who is patient, since you’ll be calling often. “That person is your ears and eyes to anything you want to be aware of since you’re not there,” says Loverde.
8. Review health insurance plans.
Make sure the doctors and specialists your loved one needs in the new city are in-network and covered by that person’s health insurance plan. “If people don’t pay attention to the fine print in their insurance contract, they can mistakenly use a doctor that’s out-of-network,” says Rochester.
Call the number on the back of your loved one’s insurance card or go online to check whether a new doctor is in the insurance provider’s network.
9. Select new healthcare providers.
Your parent or senior loved one will need new doctors and other healthcare providers. “Nothing beats a personal referral,” says Rochester. “You want a doctor who has experience taking care of older people,” who recommends asking coworkers, people at church and friends for recommendations. Transfer prescriptions in plenty of time to prevent running out of medications.
Moving to a new city is a huge change for both you and your loved one. However, with communication and planning, you can smooth a lot of bumps in the road toward your parent’s new life.
What other things should be considered when relocating a parent or senior loved one? We’d like to hear your suggestions and tips in the comments below.
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