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Mom’s Moving to Assisted Living, Now What?

In a previous blog we provided some strategies to have “The Conversation” about how to convince a loved one to move to an assisted living facility. That may seem to be the big hurdle, and to many, it’s not the only one.

Here are some suggestions to make the transition easier for both your loved one and you.

Put down a deposit (hopefully it’s refundable) at the first suitable location. Depending upon the market, assisted living spaces can be difficult to come by. Better to reserve a place that provides the necessary services than have nowhere for your loved one to go.

Once a location has been selected, get a floor plan of the new space and determine which furniture will be moved. Make to-scale paper cut outs and lay them on the floor plan to see which pieces will fit. It’s best to have a plan like this to make it easier to part with furniture, as your loved one will probably be downsizing.

If you can afford it, hire a moving company and have your loved one stay elsewhere during the move. This may reduce the stress on you and your loved one. It also gives you the opportunity to do a “reveal” when everything is moved in and properly arranged. Many moving companies will sell you boxes and packing materials that you can use to protect the items to be moved. You will want to move any valuable or fragile items yourself, as the insurance available from the moving company may not cover any losses.

Once your loved one is settled in it’s a nice touch if you can share a few meals and get to know the other residents.

Now, what to do with the house or apartment?

If your loved one moved from an apartment, you will want to give notice of the move out, if not done already, and determine what to do with the possessions that are left behind. Once your family members have removed what they wish, you will have to find a home for the remaining items. If you are able, you may wish to contact a company that will, for a fee, remove all of the items from the apartment. They will probably take some items to a landfill, some to a location like Goodwill, or donate the furniture.

The next step would be to get the mail forwarded, cancel the utility accounts, change the address of the newspaper and magazine subscriptions. You may have to thoroughly clean the apartment to get the damage deposit back. Work with the management company of the assisted living facility to make sure that the previous tenant has ended their phone, internet, and cable service. Things can become more complex if that hasn’t happened.

If your loved one moved from a home or condominium, all of the previous items apply, as well as a number of more complex issues. The first one is, what to do with the real estate.

If the home still has a mortgage and none of the family members wants to move in, the home will need to be sold. Find a realtor with documented experience in selling homes in that neighborhood and retain them. Hopefully, the sale will be quick so your loved one or your family won’t have to make many mortgage payments.

Let’s say, however, that the market is down for homes in the neighborhood and the sale price won’t cover the mortgage balance. One option might be to hire a rental or management agency to take responsibility to find quality renters, collect the rent, and maintain the property. This might be a good short-term strategy to hold on to the home until the market gets better.

Yes, convincing a loved one to move to an assisted living facility can be hard. The actual move, dealing with possessions, and real estate can be equally as challenging.

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