Dear Donna:

My parents have lived in the same home for over five decades. It’s the house my siblings and I grew up in. Unfortunately, it’s no longer a safe place for them to live. There are so many things that I see as being downright dangerous for them. The laundry room is in their old basement, all the bedrooms are upstairs, and the bathroom tub isn’t easily accessible for showers. That’s in addition to both of them needing a helping hand with personal care.

All summer long, we’ve tried talking with our parents about moving to assisted living. However, my dad is convinced it’s a bad time to try to sell their house. And he doesn’t think assisted living communities have openings in the fall and winter.

Do you have any suggestions? The fear that something will happen to one of them in that old house is starting to keep me up at night.


Lisa in Holland, MI

Moving a Senior to Assisted Living

Dear Lisa:

It sounds like you have good reason to worry about your parents! The reasons your dad is giving you for not moving are likely tied to a fear of change, but there may be other reasons. Since they’ve lived in that house for so long, it’s understandable that they would be reluctant to make a change.

First, anytime of year is a good time to move to an assisted living community. While snow and ice can make moving day a little trickier, most moving companies in Michigan and Indiana are accustomed to working around bad weather. I would also suggest talking with a few realtors about timing the sale of a house. Those we work with often say fall and winter can be good seasons for selling. Because fewer houses go on the market during colder months, sellers have a better chance of attracting serious buyers.

Next, it might be helpful to figure out the real reason your parents are putting off a move that could keep them safer and healthier. A few that we often hear from families are:

  • The fear they will lose their privacy and independence. Some older adults aren’t aware that they’ll have their own suite or apartment, even in assisted living.
  • Worries that assisted living communities aren’t affordable. Once they realize everything that is included, such as meals, transportation, and utilities, it’s easier to understand the value.
  • Concerns that they’ll be forced to participate in activities during the day. While we encourage residents to socialize, it’s up to them to decide how many—or few—programs they attend.
  • Inaccurate ideas about what senior living is. The nursing homes of the past were often dark and depressing. Some of today’s seniors mistakenly link that to modern senior living communities.

I hope this information is useful to you, Lisa. I’d like to extend an invitation to you and your parents to attend a special event at a Heritage community or join us for a meal. It’s a great way for them to see firsthand what assisted living has to offer!

Kind regards,