Moving Elderly Parents to Another State – The Complete Guide

Living away from family can be hard; it means less face-to-face time with the ones we love. In most cases, though, being away from family doesn’t put anyone’s safety at risk. That might not be the case when elderly parents live far away from their adult children and other relatives, though.

In these cases, adult children have tough choices to make. Should they hire professional caregivers to provide their elderly parents the in-home care they need? Should they move to where their parents are to help provide caregiving?

The first option might work for a while, but it’s hard to ensure that paid caregivers states away are doing their jobs right. Plus, loved ones are still miles and miles away, which means it will take time to get to them if something happens. The second option means uprooting an entire family, which can be difficult for people in certain careers and those with young children.

In these cases, sometimes the simplest (and safest) solution is to move elderly parents to where their adult children live.

When is it Time to Move Elderly Parents?

Making such an important decision isn’t something to take lightly. That said, there are times when relocating elderly relatives is the right decision. It might be time to relocate elderly parents if:

  • You constantly have to travel to see them,
  • You or your loved one could afford the same or better care if they moved,
  • The level of care your parent needs exceeds what care services are available in their area,
  • Their health is worsening or they receive a new diagnosis, and/or
  • Everyone simply wants to live closer together.

Benefits of Moving Elderly Parents

There are plenty of valid reasons for relocating elderly parents to another state, including:

  • Peace of mind that loved ones are close by in case of an emergency
  • Family members can assume in-person caregiving duties
  • Families can visit each other, in person, as relatives age
  • It’s easier to monitor loved ones’ care when they’re close by

Tips for Moving Elderly Parents

Some older adults staunchly resist change, which can make the process of moving them states away difficult, to say the least. In these cases, it might help to do the following to ease the moving process and get elderly parents to accept the changes.

Make Sure Everyone is on the Same Page

Miscommunication and misunderstandings can create tensions or heighten existing ones. That’s why it’s important to check that everyone is on the same page before the actual move begins, especially for long-distance relocations. This may mean holding a phone call or Zoom meeting with everyone involved. It should be an open discussion held months or weeks in advance to confirm goals, moving locations, and other logistical details.

Be sure to remind everyone involved periodically of what’s happening, so everyone knows what’s going on at every stage of the moving process, and no one is hit by a last-minute change of plans.

Decide on the Location of Your Elderly ParentsNew Home

First things first: where will your loved ones be relocating to? Will they move into your home or a relative’s apartment? Their own space? A retirement community? The answer to this question will depend on a lot of different factors, such as budget and the level of care your loved one requires.

It’s a good idea to hold a family meeting to discuss the long-term care needs of your aging relatives. The decisions you reach will guide every other stage of the moving process.

Moving into a Senior Center

If the older adults have severe health problems, such as Alzheimer’s disease, they may require more care than family caregivers alone can provide. In such cases, your aging loved ones may need to move into an assisted living facility, memory care center, or skilled nursing facility (nursing home).

Moving in with Family

If the elderly parents will move in with their adult children, it’s necessary to ensure that their living arrangements are safe. For example, family members may need to install grab bars and handheld shower heads in their bathrooms to make their homes safer for seniors.

Moving into a New Home or Apartment

If your elderly parents are capable of living alone, it’s important to ensure their new home will be safe for them. Making a living space safe for seniors includes:

  • Removing obstacles they can trip over, such as throw rugs and stray electrical wires
  • Improving ventilation in their kitchen
  • Replacing gas stoves with electrical ones
  • Adding grab bars in all bathrooms
  • Making showerheads handheld and putting shower stools in all showers
  • Adding grip mats to all showers and baths
  • Improving all walkway lighting
  • Adding handrails to both sides of any stairways
  • Installing a home security system
  • Investing in medical alert devices

In addition to these changes, hiring a geriatric care manager (specialized social worker or registered nurse) can help your aging relatives live in their own homes for as long as possible. These managers can fulfill many roles, but they often serve as a caregiver who assists clients with personal care services. In other words, they help seniors with their daily routine and activities like cooking and cleaning.

Plan, Plan, Plan

Planning might not be fun, but having everything lined up well ahead of the moving date can reduce a lot of stress and odds of something going wrong. Considerations to keep in mind (and plan for) include:

  • Where are the older adults moving to? A relative’s home or senior housing?
  • What happens to the place the seniors are moving from? If they own the location, is an estate sale necessary?
  • How are the seniors being moved? Are relatives picking them up or does transportation for them need to be arranged?
  • How are their possessions being transported? Are some items worth transporting? Is downsizing necessary?
  • Do the older adults have medications that need to be filled ahead of time? What pharmacy do they use? What pharmacies need to be notified of the move so that the senior citizens can get their prescriptions on time?
  • Are there plenty of healthcare providers in the area that can meet the needs of the moving seniors?
  • Are healthcare services lined up for the seniors as soon as they move to a new location?
  • Do the older adults have pets? Are they moving as well?
  • Are the seniors’ health insurance companies informed of the move? How will the move affect coverage?
  • How will possessions be unpacked? Will unpacking services be necessary?
  • What legal documents need to be signed (power of attorney, wills, etc.)?

Checklist for Moving Elderly Parents

  1. Is everyone on the same page?
  2. Is the location your elderly parents are moving to safe?
  3. Is transportation for your elderly parents arranged?
  4. Are your parents moving with possessions or do they need to downsize?
  5. How will the move affect insurance policies?
  6. Will your loved ones have their medications throughout the entire moving process?
  7. Is a local pharmacy notified of the move and has it received your loved ones’ scripts so that medication schedules are not interrupted?

Final Thoughts

Moving aging loved ones into senior housing is hard. That fact is doubly true when you’re moving them states away. Actually finding a welcoming community for elderly parents to move into doesn’t have to be hard, though.

Our database is full of thousands of independent living, assisted living, and memory care facilities across the United States, which makes it easy to find senior care locations anywhere you need today.