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How to Help a Parent Move after Losing a Spouse

It is a hard subject to deal with, but an important one to discuss. What do you do when you have lost a parent, and the other is left alone? It can be impossible to stay alone in the same halls they once walked together. If your parent decides to move, here are some ways you can make the transition easier.

Emotional Support

Nothing about this time is going to be easy. If your parent has lost a spouse, they may not want to move as they might feel like they are losing a connection to their spouse. Gently bring up the idea of transitioning to a smaller space that is more appropriately sized for a single person to look after. If they are resistant to the idea, don’t force the issue. They may change their mind in time, and you don’t want to alienate them when you need each other the most. Simply offer to help care for the home, in any way that is feasible. If they do agree with you, or have offered the idea themselves, there are many ways you can help. You can physically help them clean and pack their home, but also be there for them. Help your parent make meals, deal with the paperwork that comes with death, but most importantly, be there for them. Hold their hand and let them know that they are not alone. You have each other.

Best Ways to Pack

Again, your parent may not be ready to move immediately. Grief takes time to process, and it’s important to be there for them until they are prepared to go through their spouse’s things. Know that once they are ready, packing may take longer than you expect. It’s going to be an emotional journey to go through their loved one’s things and decide what to keep and what to pass on. If it is at all possible, be there for them physically. Help them pack. Laugh with them over shared memories, and even cry together when it is too much. It will be exhausting work, so having someone younger to help with the heavy lifting will be a godsend. You can be extra helpful by being practical. Get boxes and sturdy trash bags for packing. Help them organize and label as you go. Make sure that, when moving day arrives, they have an overnight bag packed and filled with everything they will need, from dinner supplies to a toothbrush and medication.

Smaller Home

There are a few options your parent has, and choosing a smaller home is one of them. If your parent is able to care for themselves adequately, and will be close to you or another family member, a smaller home may be the right decision. The benefits are numerous. It’s cheaper to own and live in a smaller space. Utilities are usually cheaper, along with the property itself and related taxes. A smaller price tag gives more choice, and may allow your parent to purchase something in a neighborhood that might otherwise be out of reach. It’s easier to clean and modify a small space than a larger one, too.

Senior Living Facilities

If your parent needs extra care, for whatever reason, assisted living may be the right solution. There are more benefits than just the trained staff. Your parent will have new opportunities to socialize with people of a similar age in a senior living facility. They may have an easier time staying active with classes and activities tailored to their needs. They won’t have to worry about cleaning or cooking unless it’s for their own pleasure. Senior living facilities offer many classes or clubs that allow seniors to keep their minds sharp, as well as enjoy a variety of hobbies with others. Be sure to research where and if it is financially sensible to do senior living.

It’s going to be a hard journey. There is no denying that

you both will encounter difficulties. However, by supporting your parent, by being there for them, you two can overcome this loss and move forward together.

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