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How Do I Talk with My Parents About Moving?

Your mother lives in her own home, the house you grew up in as a matter of fact.  Mom is able to do less and less to care for her home and her person.  While you are quite the help to your mother, the house requires more time than you can manage to give.  You are wondering if the old homestead is simply too much to manage, and you are not certain how to broach the subject.

Leaving one’s home is likely one of the most difficult decisions for an elderly person to make.  It is so hard to leave the home in which so many good things happened! Because of this, we tend to put off the decision as long as we can.

If you are the adult child, it is easy to understand why Mom does not want to leave your childhood home.  You may not want Mom to leave either, but now you are either struggling to maintain the home or your mother is no longer safe alone there. 

A good time to bring this up is just after a friend, relative, or associate suffers a major life change.  That situation will allow you to bring up the subject with ease.  Say something like, “Mom, since Uncle Jim died, I am wondering if Aunt Suzie can make it alone.  I has me wondering about our family and what your preference is on down the road.”  Mom might say that it is a long time from now.  If she does, you say, ”I believe you, but I do think we should be proactive.  I don’t want to be making that decision without your input.”

Assuming your mother is decisional and willing, sit down with her and craft a plan.  Your mother has surely mulled this over in her mind already, now you are just brining it out into the open so that the both of you know her thoughts.  Ask your mother what she has planned for her future.  Ask her where she would like to live, should she be unable to live at her current address.  Ask your mother what an ideal living situation would look like to her.  Have her list the amenities that are important to her.  She may try to put it off until later, so ask her to humor you and play along.

Suggest that you visit a variety of living situations with her, from condos, to senior complexes and assisted living facilities.  Suggest that you give each facility a one-hour visit to discover all the amenities and services they have to offer.  Remind your mother that the best time to look is before you need the help and are unable to make that decision on your own. 

If Mom is not willing to go, get brochures from every facility in town.   Share them with your mother and then leave them with her.  She will likely study them when you are gone.
The thought of leaving your home is a very difficult decision to make for all of us.  Just like vacation, it is the brochures and the positive anticipation that increases the excitement about the journey.  Try to make the discussion enjoyable and all about planning for something even better.

About this Post

Written By

Mary Haynor

RN / CEO - Emeritus

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