Nearer My Mom to Me: The Pros and Cons of Seniors Moving Closer to Family

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older woman smiling

There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence accumulating that one way families are dealing with separation during the pandemic is to move their aging parents out of senior living and to an apartment near them, even cross-country. Clearly there are many benefits to such a change, including safe, socially distanced in-person visits with loved ones; being able to physically offer help when parents need it; and a feeling of proximity that can bring comfort to all during this extended time of separation and social isolation, especially for aging adults.

However, there are also some downsides to such a move that may not be apparent right away. Just Google “move my parent closer to me” and you’ll find plenty of articles listing all the reasons why you shouldn’t.

That’s not our purpose here. At Five Star Senior Living, we see ourselves as a trusted partner to the families we serve, and if moving Mom (or Dad) is something you’re pondering, we want to offer some thoughts that are specific to the times we’re living in—COVID times—because you won’t find COVID discussed in those articles. Living through a pandemic does toss in a few things to consider about relocating a parent that you wouldn’t have to think about in any other year.

Here is what to consider if you are thinking about moving a parent to be closer to family. 

  1. What happens when things go back to “normal”? Will your loved one expect the same level of visiting and attention when you’re back to your normal, crazy schedule, chauffeuring the kids to dance lessons and soccer games and working late at your job? Will they end up sitting home alone a lot?
  2. Will they miss what they left behind? If your parent moved from a senior living community, chances are they had a lot of friendships and fond relationships with the people taking care of them. They had their routines. They knew their surroundings. This is something to consider, for the older we get, the less we like change—and COVID has served up a lot of change already.
  3. Has the pandemic actually made those bonds stronger? Every day, we at Five Star hear stories from our residents of how our team members have made life during COVID not just safe but happy. Our residents and families write to us or leave reviews speaking of our team members as friends, not “staff,” who have gone above and beyond They see us as all going through this challenging time together. The pandemic has brought us all closer than we might have been.
  4. Are you thinking long-term? Perspective is important here. Moving a parent to be near you may make sense right now, for a lot of very good reasons. But is this the best course in the long run? If the pandemic were not happening, would this be a smart move? Thinking this through can ensure the decision you make is one you and your parent can live with.

What should you do? Try answering the questions here—but talk with your parent, too. What do they want? If together you decide to make the move, try using our senior community finder app to find out if there’s a Five Star community near you. That could assure your parent lives in a safe, warm, happy community where there’s always a lot to do and friendly people to meet—in between spending time with you, of course. Check it out. We’d love to hear from you!