I need your advice on how to help my parents move/transition to my city as smoothly as possible & how to (possibly) rent them an apartment before they arrive. What would you do?
June 27, 2010 1:25 PM   Subscribe

I need your advice on how to help my parents move/transition to my city as smoothly as possible & how to (possibly) rent them an apartment before they arrive. What would you do?

I'm helping my elderly parents move to my city (Oakland, CA) from across the country, and wondering how to make this go as smoothly as possible.

The main snag I'm hitting is in finding them a place to live. I'd like to rent a place for them before they show up, so they can send their furniture ahead of time. However, I'm not sure how to make the logistics work. For example:

  • Should I sign the lease? Or should I just get their credit report/etc and explain the scenario to the landlord?

  • Do landlords find it sketchy to rent out a place before they meet the actual tenants?

  • What am I not thinking of?

  • I'd like to rent the place beforehand because they aren't particularly mobile, so they can't fly back and forth to see places before they move themselves.

    If it isn't possible - and I just need to wait until they arrive - is it best to rent a small bed and breakfast for a few weeks? (I'm not sure how long it will take to find an apartment in the bay area around late August/Sept. I'm thinking it might take a little time since a lot of students are coming back into town.)

    Any other advice about helping older parents move to a new location is greatly appreciated. How can I make this as comfortable as possible? They don't know the area.
    posted by anitanita to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
    It sounds like you should look into getting power of attorney or being appointed as their agent so that your signature acts as their signature and you are able to represent their real estate interests. You may find landlords who will be fine with you just explaining the situation, but it never hurts to get these kinds of things sorted out as people get older. Some landlords rent out to tenants without having met them (I have done this) and others may not.
    posted by proj at 1:41 PM on June 27, 2010

    I think you will find it is important to involve them in decisions as much as possible. So yes, the bed and breakfast sounds sensible, in an area that you think they will like.

    One factor is how are they going to make new friends? Church, clubs, classes? Many elderly people who move find this really, really difficult, and then so do their children who are leaned on for everything. Research the area before they arrive and check the churches or whatever they are in to. And talk enthusiastically about craft classes etc. (Obviously in-depth talks with them are needed to find out what they would most value in an area. But if they haven't moved often they may not be aware of some things they take for granted. An obviously useful thing at a certain stage of ageing is a good bus line.)

    Don't encourage them too strongly to throw out everything if they are downsizing. A bit of storage cost is cheap compared with deep regrets.

    You don't say quite how elderly they are? Is now the time to get them to give you a power of attorney, even if you never use it at the moment? I don't know the legal advantages and disadvantages of whose name is on the lease, but you may wish to have formal authority to deal with the landlord on their behalf. However, it seems a routine situation from a landlord's point of view.
    posted by Idcoytco at 2:04 PM on June 27, 2010

    I think it would be a really bad idea to just find them somewhere to live in their absence. This is a huge change for them and with the best intentions you are likely to get it wrong. They need to be there and they need to like the place.

    It would be worth starting a few conversations around what they like about where they live and where they have previously lived and what they haven't got but would like if they have the option. If they have not moved much and have not moved in many years they may find it difficult to respond to these questions. So encouraging to think about these things would be a good start.

    And it would also be good to get them thinking about what activities they currently do and want to keep doing and what new things they may like to try...the idea is to get them excited about this, to highlight the possibilities that come with major life changes and thus reduce the worries they will have and the sadness they will feel leaving their friends and their home.

    Focus on these things for a smooth transition as they will make the difference between your parents feeling happy about the move as opposed to displaced. The logisitcs will be of much less importance.
    posted by koahiatamadl at 2:37 PM on June 27, 2010

    anitanita, kittycorner from my building is the Lake Merritt Hotel, and they offer extended stay apartments for a 30 day minimum. I don't know if it is affordable or crazy expensive. My neighbors across the hall had their parents stay there right after their son was born, and they said that it was nice, and they enjoyed it (they've since moved, so I can't get any more specific info). My neighborhood is awesome, there's lots of apartments here that often come up for rent without showing up on Craigslist, so being in the neighborhood can be a big advantage. My apartment never has signs up, just a number to call, and if something is available I think our manager puts it on the voicemail. (If I see her I'll ask if something's coming up. )

    You can also just call places and ask if you can rent without your parents being here. I think different apartments will have different ways of handling that. The issue to me would be: what if your parents hate it for some unforseen reason? Now you've signed a year lease, and that's a pain.
    posted by oneirodynia at 3:45 PM on June 27, 2010

    If they are anything like my grandparents (on both sides) who have moved in their late 70s, get a mover that will pack and unpack for them, and cleaners to do the final property clean.

    Even with this, it was difficult to get my grandmother to stop 'helping' and completely wearing herself out. Starting a new life completely exhausted or injured is not a good thing. Ignore their protests about the cost (wasn't as expensive as we thought it could be), or how they can manage.

    And absolutely consider how the new place will work with their current (and presumed decreasing) mobility. Both location - shops, activities in walking distance or near a bus stop etc, and the property itself - eg shower over bath is terrible for older people, steps are awkward.
    posted by AnnaRat at 6:17 PM on June 27, 2010

    Response by poster: Thanks for taking the time everyone- you've given me a lot to think about. Any additional advice is appreciated.
    posted by anitanita at 7:15 PM on June 27, 2010

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