Moving an Elderly Parent: 6 Tips for a Smooth Transition

Moving an Elderly Parent

 Moving an elderly parent is a complicated and emotionally complex process. Your loved one is being asked to give up not only their home of the last few decades but also some of their autonomy and control if they’re moving in with you or to an assisted living facility. It’s an intimidating process to start but one that has to happen regardless of how you feel. To help them come to terms with and accept this change, here are 6 steps for moving an elderly parent into a new home.

Moving an Elderly Parent: 6 Tips for a Smooth Transition

  1. Understand the Emotional Toll

    For the “easiest” transition, get into their mindset and understand how they’re feeling. Think about what they’ve been able to do in their lives and where they’re currently at now. They’re losing their health and autonomy. Doing things that used to be easy–like walking up or down a flight of stairs, doing the dishes, taking a shower–now require much more energy than they used to. Your loved one still wants to do all of those things (and might even assume they still can) and won’t easily understand that it’s time to accept help from someone else. It will be especially difficult for them  to leave their long term home if this was their home with their spouse who has since passed away. Put yourself in their shoes and let them know you’re trying to understand how hard this is for them.

  2. Communicate Early On

    Start communicating about moving with your loved one early on. Be prepared for open but tough dialogue and possibly a bit of anger. It’s an arduous and emotionally taxing process and will probably take months for them to come to terms with moving. Essentially, you’re asking them to give up a certain amount of control, and that’s not an easy thing for an adult who has done things on their own for the last half to three-quarters of a century. They will need time to process, grieve, and mourn the loss of this stage of life.

  3. Ask Relatives for Help

    Regardless of how much downsizing needs to be done, enlist some extra help. Ask any relative if they have time to assist with part of the moving process. Having multiple relatives involved will help them see they’re making a good choice and feel supported. Seeing familiar family faces will also help ease their stress and emotional anxiety throughout the moving process.

  4. Plan with Them

    The Location: When planning the move, give your elderly parent as much say as possible when it comes to decision making. Having a say will give them a sense of control, and in turn, make the entire moving process smoother. Determine what kind of place they should move into, whether that’s a retirement home, assisted living, or with a family member, and what kind of assistance will be required. Do your research together and find a few places you can both agree on. Schedule tours of the facilities with your loved one so they can get a feel for each place.

    The Move: Determine your moving budget and decide the best course of action for that budget. Hiring a full service moving company is certainly the easiest option, but it’s also the most expensive one. If you’re willing to rent and drive a moving truck, you can keep costs down and hire a moving company to provide the labor. Or, if you have enough young siblings and cousins, you might be able to take care of this move by yourselves. Discuss the options with your family. Include your elderly parent in this process for open communication and allowing them to feel in some sort of control.

  5. Organize and Donate

    Moving into a smaller home will involve downsizing. And getting rid of belongings they’ve had for years is the second hardest part of this process. Go through the house and sort and organize item by item. Allow them to reminisce during this process. They’re not just things–they’re memories. And they may be forced to part with items they’re not ready to let go of simply because they won’t have the space for them.

    Tip: If it’s possible, find out the square footage of their new home. Tape off a portion of their current home equivalent to the new space. This will help them get a better idea of what they can realistically take with them. It will also make hard decisions easier because they can see it won’t fit no matter how you organize it.

  6. Help Them Settle In

    After the move is complete, help your elderly parent settle in to their new home. Unpack their belongings and surround them with familiar items as soon as possible to help them feel more comfortable in their new space and make it feel like home.

    You might want to consider visiting them more frequently in the weeks just after moving in. It will probably take some time to make friends and establish a routine. A friendly face will remind them that even though they’re in a new environment, they still have their family, and you’re not going anywhere.

Now that you’re prepared for moving an elderly parent, it’s time to find a moving company if that’s the route you’ve decided works best for you. We at Moving U & Junk U believe we’re the movers for you. Our movers understand this is an emotional process for you and your loved one. They’ll do everything they can to make this delicate situation easier for you. We provide moving and junk removal services. And if you want to avoid the stress of packing, we can take care of that as well.

Whatever you need help with, we’ll tailor our services to meet your needs. Looking for us to pack up the kitchen and only move the bulky items to their new home? We can do that. Are you interested in a hands off, full service packing and move with some junk removal? We can do that too. Our professionally trained, friendly movers are here to make this transition seamless and stress free.

To get your free estimate for packing, moving, or junk removal, give us a call or text at 484-301-2442 or email us at

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Moving U & Junk U is a full-service moving and junk removal company located in the Greater Philadelphia Area, Reading, PA, and Dayton, OH

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