When It's Time To Move

If it’s no longer safe or reasonable for your loved one to live at home, he or she may find moving to a new place to be a difficult adjustment.

Multiple surveys suggest that America’s elderly would prefer to “age in place.” In other words, these individuals would like to spend the rest of their lives living in their current homes or neighborhoods. Unfortunately, at some point most seniors do have to move.

Older Americans move for a variety of reasons, but regardless of the reason, older individuals often relocate because the new environment is more attractive. A new residential area can be more attractive because it:

  • Is closer to family and friends
  • Offers a better climate
  • Offers continuity of lifestyle or culture
  • Offers better or needed health care options
  • Provides access to recreation or leisure activities

Before your loved one decides to relocate, you should discuss the following questions with him or her:

  • Should you relocate?
  • Where are you going to relocate?
  • Who will help you with any business or financial questions that you have?
  • Will you regret leaving here?

If your loved one has decided to move, make sure that he or she understands that negative emotions are a normal part of relocation—even if an individual wants to move. These emotions might include:

  • Disorientation
  • Idealization of the old environment
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Grief

To help your loved one adjust, communicate about his or her new surroundings and help him or her to make these more familiar. Find out how your loved one feels about his or her:

  • Ability to have visitors in the new environment
  • Sense of security or safety in the new environment
  • Sense of control in the new environment
  • Privacy in the new environment
  • Accessibility to the new environment
  • Own ability to make his or her environment better

Help your loved one locate community services to assist in adapting to the new environment. Possible community services include:

  • Employment services
  • Home-delivered meals
  • Home maintenance
  • Housecleaning services
  • Medical and dental services
  • Legal services
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Protective or safety services
  • Recreational services
  • Rehabilitation facilities
  • Senior centers
  • Transportation options
  • Volunteer opportunities

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