If you are thinking about moving close to elderly parents to provide support, here are the pros and cons, alternatives and practical steps to help you gain a better understanding of what lies ahead.
Moving house is proven to be one of the most stressful things we can go through as humans, as well as divorce, getting married and having children. When this relocation is matched with something meaningful, like a desire to be closer to elderly parents, it can be quite the hotbed of emotions.
Whilst this step is driven by love and a sense of responsibility, it is important to consider not only the emotional aspects but also the practical challenges of moving. In this mini-guide we will explore the pros and cons of a move like this, alternatives, how to research the local area, and other helpful considerations you might need to be prepared for. Let’s take a closer look to help you ensure the very best support for your elderly loved ones:
The Pros & Cons Of Relocating For Elderly Parents
Moving closer to your parents comes with a lot of advantages and disadvantages. When there are so many emotions involved, it can be helpful to write down pros and cons so you can get more of a practical view of the situation on balance. Here are common pros and cons of relocating for elderly parents:
- Enhanced Support: Parents are able to receive more emotional and physical support from you as soon as you’re closer to them.
- Strengthened Family Bonds: Being closer to your parents means not only will your relationship be stronger, but they will have a better relationship with your partner and children.
- Peace Of Mind: Worrying about your parents and their safety will be eased being in a closer proximity to them.
- Convenience: It is much easier to coordinate medical services, appointments and other needs your parents have when you are within a close proximity to them.
- Helping Siblings: If siblings are already near your parents caring alone, you will help take some of their load off.
- Protection: By advocating for your parents in person you help them to avoid being taken advantage of.
- Costs: Moving house costs money and there will be a cost to moving to a new place. The cost of living might be higher, too.
- The Weight Of Care: Caring for loved ones closely and ‘hands-on’ has a huge impact. Unpaid carers are known to suffer poorer health, and the physical and mental toll can be huge.
- Career Change: You may need to change jobs to be able to relocate to be closer to your parents. If you plan to care for them regularly, you may also need a job with fewer hours, which means a lower income.
- Lifestyle Change: A different area, a different pace and different hobbies.
- Loneliness: You might feel cut off from the friends and family you were closer to, physically, before.
- Impact On Your Children: You may find you are further away from your kids, or if your kids come too, they have to adjust to a big upheaval.
Exploring Alternatives To Moving Nearer To Elderly Relatives
Before you make such a big decision it is important to consider all available alternatives. These alternatives include home modifications, where you can enhance their existing living space with safety measures like handrails, stair lifts and non-slip flooring. Another option is home care, where professional carers provide assistance in the home. This could be either visiting care of 24/7 live-in care, where carers live in the house and enable your parents to stay in their home safely.
Alternatively, you can leverage technology using video calls and smart home devices to connect with your parents and monitor them.
For some people, sharing caregiving responsibilities with family members using rota type arrangements can ensure consistent care for your relatives without anyone having to completely uproot their lives. Some also consider regularly commuting to their parents location perhaps every other weekend, or a few evenings a week, as part of that rota system, or for parents who may already have care, or who don’t require a lot of care yet. This may not be workable if they are very far away.
Another good middle ground is moving to an area between your current home and their home. This would lessen your commute to them, whilst also allowing you to continue to access your friends, work, schools and other amenities in the area you are now.
By exploring these alternatives you can make a well-informed choice that prioritises both your parents well-being and your own life circumstances.
Researching The New Area
It is important to do some research about the new area so your transition is smoother and informed.
The best thing to do is begin by looking at the housing market in the area. Explore your options and see if they fit your budget. You should also look at job opportunities if you’ll be looking at a career change, healthcare facilities (relevant to your parents needs, and your needs), and community resources and charities that could help with parental care.
If you have kids you will need to look into the schools, colleges and universities in the local area. There should also be good activities on offer, as well as great transport and a general pleasant feel to the area you’re considering.
A Trial Move
A trial move is a great idea if you’re unsure if relocating to support your elderly parents could work. You could rent a self-storage unit and keep your things safe whilst you’re away from home. It can also be incredibly handy if you do decide to move, as it is a neutral space to keep things whilst you dress a house for sale, renovate a new house and perhaps want to clear some of your parents house to make room for adjustments needed to make their lives easier.
This trial period allows you to have the time to think about various aspects of the move. You can explore the local facilities, spend time discussing the options with your parents, and seeing what kind of opportunities are nearby. Armed with this experience you can then plan a permanent move with more information and confidence.
Relocating For Elderly Parents: Ensuring It’s The Right Choice For All
In your journey to be closer to your elderly parents, it is so important you consider all the aspects of this decision carefully. Whatever you decide to do in the end, a thoughtful approach and strong support network can help you achieve the balance needed to ensure everyone’s wellbeing and happiness.