By Sylvana Rinehart

For the past several decades, I have been helping families address one of the most difficult questions they face with an aging parent or loved one, such as “When is it time to move my Mom?” This is especially hard when the holidays are upon us and we don’t want to make changes so as not to rock the boat during a time of family and joy. If you have set an imaginary time frame, for example, “We’ll move her after the holidays,” or “I’ll move him in the spring,” you are not alone. This is a natural and human reaction to all the emotions you, as a loved one, are going through, hoping that something will change alerting you that indeed the time has come to make a move. Unfortunately, the “alert” may be something that can completely alter the choices that you had just a few months before.

Today, while taking a client to one of our trusted providers, my provider said something that resonated with our client and with me. She said: “I started taking care of John before he was unable to clearly communicate his needs, and I could detect that there was something wrong with him.” She alerted the family, and then took the necessary precautions for him to be examined by a physician. This responsiveness averted what could have been a serious setback for John. This story is a reminder that we cannot wait too long and that we need to make sure that we allow the new caregivers’ time to get to know their resident. This may be critical so that you and they together can care for your loved one and create a successful outcome for all involved. As you can imagine, my answer to the “When is it time to move?” question is more often than not, “Sooner rather than later.”