Moving a Parent? When is it the right time?

By: Mary Ellen Eady, MPA

December 2017


“When asked, older adults universally say they want to age in their current homes, but many lack access to the services needed to ensure this outcome. Many older adults find themselves in a situation where a move is necessary.”(Lipman, B.; Lubell, J. & Salomon, E. 2012). Trying to anticipate a move or change in living situation for an older adult can be daunting. Even more challenging is if your loved one has physical issues or possible memory impairment. Every situation is different, but having a plan can make this process easier. Here are some important guidelines to keep in mind as you move through this process.

1. Pay attention to indicators alerting you that it may be time for a change in environment.

   • Older adult is unable to manage daily tasks
   • Decline in housekeeping
   • Bathing rituals have changed
   • Frequent falls
   • Significant weight loss or gain
   • Mismanaging medications
   • Your loved one has a fear of being alone


2. Start the “Conversation”.

   • Ask your parent how they feel about moving
   • Make this a conversation/discussion, not a demand
   • Brainstorm for solutions together
   • Remember, this is a planning process, there may be multiple conversations over time
   • What type of living environment is best: apartment, moving in with family, assisted living or nursing

   • Weigh options before making a decision


3. Make a plan.

   • Involve key players (siblings, family, neighbors, physicians, therapists)
   • It is critical to include your older adult in the decision making process.


4. Utilize resources to assist with the conversation.

   • Hire a geriatric care manager to assist in communication between family members
   • Enlist a medical professional the older adult trusts
   • Web sites and online resource guides


The most important thing to remember is to begin the process. It will never be easier than it is now to start the conversation.


Anderson, J. (2012). 7 Tips for Moving Your Elderly Parents. Retrieved from

Lipman, B.; Lubell, J.; & Salomon, E. (2012). Housing an Aging Population: Are We Prepared? Retrieved from

Lynn, D. (August 16, 2013). How to Move Elderly Parents Out of the Home. Retrieved from

National Council on Aging Fact Sheet January 2014. Retrieved from

Rosenblatt, C. (April 9, 2012). Should You Move In With Your Aging Parent? Retrieved from

Seldin, N. (June 24, 2009). Helping seniors downsize: First talk about stuff. Retrieved from