Friday, January 6, 2012

Should Mom Move Closer?

Things to Think About Before You Relocate Your Elderly Parent
Your home is now miles and hours away from your parent. The best thing would be to move Mom or Dad closer...or would it? There are a lot of reasons why it might make sense to relocate an aging parent closer to the rest of the family.
But, before you suggest a move, give it some serious thought. Be sure that this move would really be the best thing for all of you. Once you have made the commitment to relocate, it will be next to impossible to undo.
Following are some important things to think about before you make the decision to relocate an older person:
Can my elder get along without me (at least for a while?) If my elderly parent don't depend on me for regular assistance now, can the move wait until I have had a chance to learn about local elder resources here? If I am working long hours, how much will I be able to assist my parent after the move? Who will select, pack, or sell possessions? Will a house have to be sold?
Social Life Is my elder confident enough to venture out and to make new friends in a strange place? Will s/he be leaving a good network of supportive friends? If my aging parent is driving on familiar streets now, will s/he be able and safe to do so on unfamiliar territory, where the traffic may be much heavier? Is transportation available, or will I have to be the chauffeur?
Important Medical Questions Does my elder have a long and close relationship with current physicians? Can we find equivalent physicians who will treat an elderly person? Many specialists, in particular, have reduced or closed their Medicare practices. Will health insurance transfer to this area? HMOs are geographically limited. Will the climate be a concern?
Financial Issues Is the new cost of living affordable? Social Security and retirement income will not be adjusted if your parent moves to a place with a higher cost of living. If s/he is currently receiving state benefits or assistance, what will the requirements be to qualify in the new location? Even within the same state, there is often a wait before services resume at a new address. If a house must be sold, what are the financial (tax and other) consequences?
And this is the most important question of all...What does the elder think? If he is competent and able to make his own decisions, does he want to relocate? Will you spend hours of effort and anxiety trying to find the "perfect" answer, only to be told to mind your own business?