Your Complete Checklist for Moving Elderly Parents into Assisted Living

Moving elderly parents into an assisted living facility is never easy but well worth the effort and emotional stress. Once your parent has settled into their new home at the facility, they’ll be well-cared for, you will no longer need to worry about if they are okay when you’re not there, and they’ll likely have more of a social life than they’ve had in years.

While most people resist going into assisted living, it really is the best move when our bodies and/or minds start to fail us. Of course, it’s getting our parents there and settled that’s the difficult part, which is why we’ve created this complete checklist to guide you through.

Step 1: Find the Right Facility

1. Research assisted living facilities

Once you’ve decided that an assisted living situation is the best option for your elderly parent(s), research what options are available in your area that provide the level of care your parent needs. Consider their needs now and, if they have been diagnosed with a disease or health concern that often progresses, their needs in the future. Some may simply need and want to purchase a home in a retirement community with some additional supervision, while others may be better off renting a unit at an assisted living facility adjacent to a full-care facility.

Also, make sure you look at their rules; some facilities allow people to have pets and will not restrict any items, while others will be strict about what furniture and belongings your parent can bring. Make sure you know now so you don’t get any nasty surprises when your parent moves in.

2. Complete all necessary payments and paperwork

Secure their place at your chosen facility. This process will vary depending on the facility and how the apartments, units, or rooms are owned. You may pay one fee for the room and the service, you may pay rent separately from the provided services, or your parent may own the home and pay a service charge or for the services independently of their property.

3. Find out what household furnishings and wares the facility provides

Some facilities will provide everything for your parent, but their personal touches and clothes, while others will not provide anything but the necessary services. Make sure you find this out ahead of time.

Step 2: Plan the Move

4. Choose a moving date

This will either be dictated by the facility or closing date, depending on whether they’re renting or buying.

5. Plan what furniture and belongings you’ll move with them

And plan where they’ll go in their new home so you don’t have any concerns about whether or not something will fit. (If they have dementia or another condition that affects their memory, it’s best to take their favorite items and try to mimic the furniture layout in their old home in their new one.)

6. Book a moving company or hire a truck if necessary

Make sure you choose an efficient, well-reviewed company.

7. Set up new utilities

This isn’t often necessary, but it’s best to get them set up before your parent arrives.

8. Consider sorting through belongings

If your parent has all their mental faculties and is on board with the move, you can start downsizing their belongings now, and help them decide what to take with them and what they want to do with their remaining belongings. However, if they find change difficult due to a disease or issue that affects their memory, it’s best to leave everything in place until the day(s) of their move.

Step 3: Move Your Parent(s)

9. Move your parent(s)

Take your parent(s) to their new home and plan to spend the day with them, settling them in. You may also want to choose a family member to stay with them for a night or two.

10. Notify others of their change of address

Notify USPS and other key services about their change of address. Don’t forget to tell other family members and friends of their change of address, and give them visiting information, if there are any restrictions.

11. Stay in close contact

Once you know the facility is taking good care of your loved one, and they’ve started to make friends with other people there, you will experience a huge sense of relief. Most children of elderly parents find the months leading up to the move highly stressful, so let yourself relax. That said, make sure you stay in close contact through calls, texts, and pictures (whatever they’re most familiar with). Try to make a weekly visit and coordinate with other family members and friends, if possible, so they know they aren’t alone.

Step 4: Sell Their Home

12. Tidy the home of their other belongings

Depending on the situation, you may want to move them into storage, distribute them between family members, or sell and donate them. 

13. Obtain power of attorney if necessary

If you have not already done so, you may need to obtain POA (power of attorney) to be legally able to sell the property. If your parent is mentally able to sell their old home, then this will not be necessary.

14. If necessary, have utilities to their old home disconnected

If the home is going to sit empty for a while, either have the utilities disconnected or make sure someone is going to watch the home and will go in to check on it regularly until it’s sold.

Selling the Home of an Elderly Parent

Assisted living facilities can be a godsend, but they certainly aren’t cheap. Except in cases where a parent is exceptionally financially independent or has a very good pension, their old home needs to be sold to pay for their care. Fortunately, we’ve got plenty of resources to help you move through this step in the process:

If you need to sell fast, we can help. We buy houses and condos in Massachusetts for cash, so if you need to move quickly, find out how we can help here.

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