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how to move parent to assisted living

How to Move a Parent to Assisted Living: Downsizing and Planning Finances

Learn the signs that it may be time for your loved one to move to assisted living, as well as how to tackle each step of the process so you can ensure a smoother transition for everyone involved.

Even the most adaptable person can have a difficult time moving out of a beloved home. 

When it’s time to consider an assisted living community for your senior parents, there are many challenges to overcome.

From the initial conversations to deciding how to move a parent to assisted living, this major life transition can be made simpler with the right plan in place.

Signs it’s Time to Consider an Assisted Living Community

One of the biggest questions when it comes to our aging parents often is: How do we know when they need more support? 

Their safety is important to you, and you want to make sure they know this without infringing on their independence.

It’s helpful to become an observer, and to note when your parents may be showing changes in their abilities. Use the basic activities of daily living (ADLs) as a guide to gauge their level of independence. 

You also can reference the ADLs when discussing health concerns with your parents or their doctor.

Basic ADLs include:

  • Moving and walking independently
  • Ability to feed oneself
  • Dressing
  • Personal hygiene
  • Continence
  • Toileting abilities

If you are concerned with any of these areas, it may be time to approach the subject with your parents and begin to create a care plan.

How to Move a Parent to Assisted Living

Moving a parent to assisted living involves a lot of initial planning and preparation. This includes how to discuss the move with your parents, how to pay for it, and how to downsize their precious belongings.

We’ll walk you through how to approach each step of the moving process, from the planning phase to move-in day.

Initial Discussions

Depending on your relationship with your parents, the initial discussion might be casual and easy, or more sensitive and tense. But regardless of this relationship, the discussion should be brought to light as early as possible so they can be involved every step of the way.

  • Watch for the right opportunity. As soon as you notice there could be issues with their current living situation, mention that they have safer options.
  • Have suggestions ready. Do some research on your own to have options ready. This way you can answer any of their initial concerns with facts.
  • Encourage their involvement. Make sure your loved ones understand they can be as involved as they’d like to be in the search process.
  • Approach the subject with compassion, understanding, and openness. It should never be a situation where you’re telling them they are moving whether they like it or not. Give them time and space to reflect and accept what’s to come.

If your loved one is struggling with memory loss or is in the early stages of dementia, they may not be able to be as involved as you wish they could be. As their dementia progresses, it will get increasingly difficult to make the move, so early planning is essential for their comfort and safety.


For some people, downsizing will be one of the most painful parts of the moving process — especially if your loved ones live in a big home they’ve had for several decades. 

In this case, breaking down the process into smaller pieces will be the most helpful. This might include:

  • Gathering and labeling boxes
  • Creating a safe space for sentimental items
  • Using separate bins for donations, items to move, and items they aren’t sure what to do with yet
  • Completing one room at a time

If this process brings up painful discussions or arguing, consider hiring a professional organizer to provide third-party objectivity.

Planning Finances

If you know financing assisted living will be a big point of concern for Mom and Dad, it will be helpful to lay out all their options for them. Many people find that they have more options than they realized.

Some of the financial options available to seniors include:

  • Trust funds
  • Pensions
  • Income from stocks
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Veteran’s benefits
  • Bridge loans
  • Reverse mortgages

It’s helpful to think of financing assisted living as just a continuation of the costs of living they already were paying. In fact, sometimes it is even more affordable to live in assisted living rather than paying all the bills associated with owning and maintaining a home.

Move-In Day

Aim to make move-in day as effortless as possible with solid preparation. You already will be organized with your packing process, so the movers will be able to easily take your loved one’s items to their new home.

Have a separate overnight bag and box of items ready for their first night, including linens, pajamas, medications, and any pictures, photos, and special items they will want to set up. That way these essential items will be easily accessible.

Be there for your loved one as much as you can on their first day, including via video chat if there are in-person guest restrictions. But also remember to give them space to adjust and meet new people.

How the Right Community is Your Partner in Care

With the right assisted living community, your family is going to grow. The Kensington White Plains staff promises to love and care for your family as we do our own.

We provide exceptional care for your loved ones, with a focus on all the ways we can preserve and enhance their own comforting hobbies and routines. This includes exciting life enrichment opportunities and cozy dining experiences.

We are your partners in care — providing a space for your loved ones to age in place no matter how their needs change over time. We are equipped to offer a full spectrum of clinical support, including end-of-life care.

If you’re preparing to approach the difficult decision of how to move a parent to an assisted living community, we can help.
Call us today to learn what we can do to make sure your loved one is comfortable and prepared to make their big move.

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