Every year, thousands of Americans face a daunting decision. Aging parents and senior loved ones may be ready to transition out of their family home. Considering the increased costs associated with nursing homes and assisted living care facilities, many families choose to take in their senior family members. If you’re moving in mom, here are a few steps to take and senior care considerations to make the move-in transition process as smooth as possible.
The Tall Order of Downsizing
Moving in mom means saying goodbye to the family-favorite home. Your senior loved one may not be thrilled about leaving, either. With emotions running high and the hectic nature of a transition, consider delegating the responsibility of moving, packing, and lifting to the professionals. Outsourcing the moving tasks means you can focus your attention on the sentimental and emotional transition of moving in mom.
Start with the Small Things
A lifetime of collecting household furnishings and meaningful possessions can be hard to part with, and you should be prepared. When it’s time for a move, consider starting small, with smaller things, and discuss how your senior loved one feels about making those smaller decisions. You can use easy decisions about what to do with a piece of furniture or a box of pictures to help transition to those more challenging conversations about more significant decisions. It can also include mom in the process and allow her to feel as though she is still in control of her decisions when she might be hesitant to give up her independence.
Make the Big Decisions Together
The bigger and maybe even tougher decisions should be made together with your aging loved one. Don’t assume you need to sell the car without first talking to mom about things. She may instead want to gift her vehicle to a teenage grandchild or donate it to a charity organization. Before moving in mom, you’ll face more significant decisions, and it’s best to work through those finalization steps together.
Involving Friends & Family for Support
She may be your mother, but you don’t have to handle the transition alone. Don’t be afraid to reach out to trustworthy family and friends for support. Others can help with the emotional conversations and tedious tasks associated with senior care and moving in mom. Other family members can agree to keep sentimental items, too, if it makes your loved one feel better about keeping certain things in the family as opposed to selling or donating.
Handling the Healthcare Necessities Before the Move
Whether your aging loved one is moving across town or across the country and into your home, you’ll want to iron out all the details regarding healthcare before you pack a single box. If moving in mom means she’ll need new doctors, for example, you’ll want to make those decisions now. And if you need authorization from your loved one to make healthcare decisions on her behalf, you’ll need to address those steps, as well.
Getting New Provider Referrals
Contact your senior loved one’s current roster of doctors, specialists, and healthcare providers to ask for referrals in your new location. Of course, if you live in the same city or region as your aging parent does, you may not need to change providers. But ultimately, the current providers are the best resources for making changes and will need to share medical histories with any new providers. Waiting to do this until after the move can translate to delays in care.
Care Managers Are Great Resources
Geriatric care managers are excellent resources when moving in mom means crossing state lines. These professionals are often familiar with local healthcare providers and volunteer resources. And they can help organize any medical support for transportation if need be.
Pharmacy & Prescription Changes
Don’t forget to handle the necessary changes regarding prescription medications. Before moving in mom, you’ll need to make sure essential medicines are available in her new pharmacy. And if there may be a lapse in time before she’ll have her next visit with her new providers, make sure to fill those prescriptions before leaving.
Preparing Yourself & Your Household for a New Guest
You don’t want to spend all this time worrying about your mom’s home that you almost forget to prepare your home for a new guest. Not only will your senior loved one need a special space to call her own, but it can help to bring little things from her home to help create a more familiar environment. Include some of her favorite pieces, pictures, or personal touches. To make sure she feels at home and comfortable in your home, you’ll want to make her surroundings accommodating to her.
Health Insurance, Authorizations & Provider Notification
You’ll want to follow up with your senior loved one’s current insurance providers to inform them of the move and make necessary changes to contact information. It’s also imperative to verify that new doctors or specialists are considered in-network to avoid hefty out-of-pocket costs. You may also need to be listed as an authorized decision-maker on behalf of your aging parent if you aren’t already.
Prepare for an Increase in Household Expenses
You may need to prepare your household finances before moving in mom. With an extra adult in the home, you can expect maybe to see increases in your water or electricity bills. You’ll more than likely spend more for groceries and basic toiletries, too. These extra costs might seem incremental in the moment. However, if you don’t prepare your budget accordingly, you could be surprised by how quickly they add up every month.
Reporting Changes to Household Size to the Marketplace
If you currently have health insurance for yourself and your immediate family through the Marketplace, you’ll want to notify the exchange about your plans for moving in mom. A change in your household dynamics, including a death, birth, or transition that impacts the size of those within your home, affords you a special enrollment period. You might qualify for bigger savings in tax subsidies, based on the extra and more permanent guest under your roof.
Moving in mom or any senior loved one can be an emotional process for you and your senior. But following some of these tips and suggestions can help ease the transition for everyone. And when you’re ready to explore your new Marketplace options and potential adjusted tax subsidies, browse for free with W3ll.