Moving your parents to a retirement home – positive changes after 48 years

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So, you are moving your parents to a retirement home. Whether a decision they have made on their own or it becomes a difficult decision you’ve had to help them make, this is a time of reflection, loss and transition. The life you knew with Mom and Dad at home is now changing. It is even more startling when you’ve been in the same home for 48 years.


You’ve received the call. You know that Mom and Dad have been struggling but you hadn’t realized how much. Maybe they live farther away, or their health was failing but they simply do not tell you, to avoid worrying you. Or shockingly, you just didn’t realize how much they were failing. You find out that things are declining quickly. Maybe it’s a situation where one parent’s mind is compromised and the other parent has severe diabetes. There are so many different possible situations.

The Sandwich Generation

You are part of the “Sandwich Generation”. Maybe young children to young adults, you are still working full-time. You have busy lives. The adult children need to focus on what’s going on in their own family, but Mom and Dad need them. Health care and personal care needs are in question. The retirement home search needs to begin, not to mention the long list of other needed care.

I often hear, “I thought that I would just take a week off and come home”. OR “My siblings and I will get done what needs to get done once they are moved and we put the house up for sale.” There is no surprise that life gets in the way. In reality, there are so many things to do when you are moving your parents to a retirement home that we don’t always know where to start.

First of all, you need to find out what’s actually going on with mom and dad. All while listening and talking and hearing your parents about their wishes. Then, you need to look after their healthcare, find a place for them to get settled into. Fill out all the paperwork in order, powers of attorney, lawyers and bankers need to get involved. And there there is the stuff… all that stuff.

Moving your parents to a retirement home can be daunting.  Ask for help when you need it.

We all accumulate too much stuff, whether it is newspapers, magazines, mail or the ongoing collections of things like antiques, books, salt and pepper shakers and more. As you walk from room-to-room, floor-to-floor, you ask yourself: what do you do with all the stuff? There will be items that go with them and then there will be items you and/or your siblings will want. The remainder will likely be donated or sold. The team at Just In Time Solutions like to repurpose, reuse and recycle as much as we can.

Just in Time Solutions

We can sell items online or can do an online auction. We can donate to the people that we know will use it. For example, we know that animal shelters can use blankets, towels and laundry detergent. We know where to take men’s and ladies clothes so they will get to those who need them. Household furniture, tools and garage items, can go
to Habitat for Humanity. We have people to assess and buy coins, stamps, and other collections. The list of belongings can seem endless and if you do not know what to do with all these things it can be frustrating and time-consuming.

Related Blog Post: Best Practices for Selling Clothes + Tips That’ll Make You Money

Then there are the photos, what do we do with them all? We suggest you go through them and get rid of all the ones that no-one knows the people ( yes this does happen), the landscape, the ones with the thumb marks and all the ones that just do not matter. One solution might be having them all scanned and put on a USB for each child and one
for Mom and Dad. Then you can take Mom and Dad’s USB and get them an electronic photo frame to enjoy. This is a very popular and lovely solution so they can have it with them at the retirement home.

When you are moving your parents to a retirement home you want to do this as easily and as positively as possible. This can be a daunting task and there is no need to do it on your own, you can call a professional organizer or senior move manager to get the help that you need. This lets you focus on the things that are important – your parents, their stories and making their new life transition easy.

Professional Organizer Profile Pauline Hoffman

Notes from DownshiftingPRO

In 2021, I have begun to pivot content features on the blog, I have chosen to highlight organizing content. After taking a poll, many of my readers and followers wanted more content with a focus on downsizing, organizing and conquering the clutter. In doing so, I have turned to professional organizers in Canada and the US to create guest posts for my readers. I admire their work and hope you will stop by their website for a fuller perspective on what they do best – keep people organized. I hope you enjoy the series.

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Margarita Ibbott is a travel and lifestyle blogger. She blogs about travel in Canada, the United States and Europe giving practical advice through restaurant, hotel and attraction reviews. She writes for and other online media outlets.

4 thoughts on “Moving your parents to a retirement home – positive changes after 48 years”

  1. I went through something similar about four years ago. My dad had passed away, and my mom had dementia. We could no longer keep her in the house she lived in for almost 60 years. I found the right place and moved her into a memory care unit in an assisted living facility. After she was settled, I cleared out, renovated, and sold her home. Since I had done similar work for clients, I knew what to do, but it would have been amazing to call a specialist like Pauline to help if I hadn’t. I actually hired a few organizing colleagues to help with some specific projects. There were other professionals on my team, too, including the stager, realtor, junk hauler, contractor, landscaper, and appraisers.

    • It does take a village sometimes doesn’t it. To do this right, you do need the help of all those people. My mother moved into our home 3 years ago but getting the house ready for sale was time-consuming and I did not get a lot of help from my siblings. My husband was a big helper. But in the end, it was done. At times I wish we had kept that house and rented it out instead.

  2. Having to make decisions for our parents is so stressful and pulls on our emotions. It’s the club you don’t want to belong to.
    I really liked that you can sell items online or do an online auction and donate to the people that you know will use it. That helps when making those hard decisions.
    The bonus is having someone, like you to take care of the details because it’s overwhelming!
    Your idea about the electronic photo frame and gifting it to our parents is awesome. That’s a win-win!!

    • Yes, I really think that Pauline of Just in Time Solutions really nailed it. The digital photo frame is something I have seen done very successfully! Thanks for dropping by!

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