Moving an Elderly Relative

By Mike Jones, 

One of the hardest things we’ll ever have to do in our lives is move an elderly parent or relative out of the home they’ve been in for years and into a retirement community, nursing home, or hospice care facility.

It’s a difficult time for everyone, particularly the family member being moved. After years of independence and building a life in their home, they suddenly have to accept that they can’t take care of themselves or their home anymore, which is very hard to hear. That’s why family members need to take special care when moving this relative to their new home, especially when it comes to deciding which items should be kept or sold.

Create an Inventory with Every Belonging

Making an inventory seems like a huge task, but it’s worth it when you’re trying to get everything organized. With the help of other family members or friends, you can make this process go much faster, too.

Before you start taking an inventory of large items like furniture, make sure to collect any key financial documents, such as tax forms, bank statements, real estate deeds, vehicle titles, stock certificates, insurance forms, etc. After you’ve gathered those items, create the inventory of every possession in your elderly family member’s home. It’s a good idea to categorize everything by room and then by item type.

Divide Items by Keep, Sell, Donate, or Throw Away

After you’ve taken an inventory of everything, work with your family (and your elderly family member, if they’re able) to determine what items will be kept, sold, donated, or thrown away. Remember: Not everything can be kept, especially if your elderly family member is moving from a house into an apartment in a retirement community.

Don’t rush though. Make sure to thoroughly consider every item. You don’t want to accidently throw away a family heirloom. Do your research on items that may be valuable or unique, and check with your relatives to see if they know the history or sales of particular items. Hiring an estate appraiser or auctioneer can be a useful way to determine an item’s value as well.

Move It or Store It

There are going to be many possessions that can’t be moved into a retirement community, nursing home, or hospice care facility. If your elderly family member (or another relative) is determined to keep something rather than selling it or donating it though, you can always look into renting a storage unit. That way, you still have the item, but it’s not getting moved somewhere where there’s no room for it.

Throughout the move, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or clean-happy. But remember that your elderly family member and their belongings aren’t being moved somewhere to be forgotten .Change is difficult for everyone, so be considerate and respect everyone’s wishes during this time.