Many people around me are dealing with caring for parents. They express frustration when parents won’t move into a facility or follow their recommendations when it is obvious they need oversight and assistance. If you are a caregiver for aging parents, you may be facing these same frustrations.

Let me provide you with some insight into the issues many older adults are facing:

  • Ill health – When they are not feeling well, the thought of having to move or sort through a lifetime of belongings is overwhelming. It may be difficult for them to meet new people and get established in a new neighborhood. They are facing many losses of friends, social status, financial status and personal identity. They may not feel like they are of value to society.
  • Lifetime accumulation of memories and possessions – Older adults fear losing their memories. When they move to a senior housing apartment, they are downsizing. This means they have to determine what is most important to them and leave the rest. Many are afraid that as they let go of possessions, they are letting go of the experiences or relationships that those possessions represented.
  • Unfamiliar with the new housing options – This generation grew up when nursing homes were the last step before death. They are unaware of the many options open today in senior housing that assist older adults in continuing to live a higher quality of life in a protected, supportive environment.
  • Emotional Transition – A move to a senior facility usually happens when they are feeling the most vulnerable. Will their friends and family find them in their new digs? Will they visit? Does this mean they are losing their ability to direct their own life? Is this the end of the road for them? Will they make new friends?
  • Selling a Home –Older adults prefer to stay in their own home. However, depending on their health and the amount of care they require, it may become financially unsustainable to keep them at home. When they sell a home they have lived in for years, it is traumatic. They are daunted by having to de-clutter and prepare a home for sale. It contains the footprints of their life and is where children were raised. They are established in the neighborhood. Locate a realtor who specializes in working with seniors. They may be able to assist in fixing up the place so they can get a better price. This is important to your parents’ retirement and represents a lifetime investment for them.
  • Loss of autonomy – This is usually the time when the child becomes the parent to their parents. It is a new role for both and is especially difficult for the older adult who is losing their ability to direct their own life.



  • Plan to move slowly.
  • Provide different options for them to choose.
  • Try out the food and ask your parents what type of environment they would feel most comfortable living in.
  • What area would they prefer to be located? Where would it be convenient for their family and friends to visit?
  • What types of services are offered? Is transportation available? What type of health services and therapy are offered?
  • Is there a resident group for resolving issues with staff and management?
  • What assistance can you get to make the move as pain-free as possible for them? Some facilities offer moving assistance or suggest professionals who specialize in moving seniors.

Keep asking questions until you are satisfied.

Contact the local senior housing advocacy group: VOYCE or the Long Term Care Advocacy Association. They have volunteers to provide advocacy with management when issues cannot be resolved alone. Visit their website in St. Louis at www.voycestl.org.

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