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What To Do When Your Elderly Parent Refuses To Move

What to Do When Your Elderly Parent Refuses to Move

As people age, they tend to become more attached to their surroundings. This likely stems from the desire to hold on and keep their lives as stable as possible in an ever-changing world. Sometimes, though, staying in their home isn’t the best option for their wellbeing.

Elderly parents often need assistance in their day-to-day lives. If they have a larger home, they may not be able to keep it up themselves. Regular tasks become more difficult, so downsizing or moving into a new home is a great choice for elderly parents.

Unfortunately, many aging adults have difficulty with the idea of moving. After all, they created all of their memories in their homes and they live in a comfortable environment. Convincing your elderly parents to move can be a difficult process.

When your elderly parents refuse to move, there are certain ways that you can persuade them or make the move easier on them. Instead of searching, “What to do when elderly parent refuses to move,” take a look at our steps to convince your parents to move when they initially refuse.

What to Do When Elderly Parent Refuses to Move

People often go about convincing someone in the opposite way than they should. Persuasion isn’t about raising your voice, arguing, or telling someone to do something. Rather, it involves being calm and receptive to the other party’s opinions and points of view. Some techniques that could help you to encourage your elderly parents to move include:


If you must make the difficult decision to move your parent out of their home and into a new location, whether that is a smaller house or a care facility, there must be a reason. Either they are struggling to maintain for their space or they may be having trouble caring for yourself. Regardless of the reason, you know that this is the best move for your parent.

On the other hand, your parent likely doesn’t feel the same way. When aging adults think about leaving their own home, it can cause high levels of stress and frustration. This is why communication is key.

When you give your parents the ability to talk to you about their feelings and stressors, you include them in the conversation. This gives them the opportunity to express things that you may not have considered.

Review Options Together

Keeping your elderly parent in the loop when it comes to where they can move is beneficial because it allows them to give their own input. They may have certain desires or requirements about their prospective location. If you make a decision for them without talking to them, they may feel resentment.

Be sure to review all of the available options together. Allow your parents to visit the new location. Don’t just throw them into a new situation unless you want pushback.

Have Patience

Moving a parent to a new home is overwhelming for them, but it can cause you stress too. Many people react to worry with anger or frustration. This can lead to conflict and introduce more problems beyond the move itself.

Staying patient with a parent is important, as it will keep you levelheaded and allow you to listen to their perspective. When you are patient, you can truly hear their concerns and negotiate with them.

Seek Advice

Perhaps despite your attempts to convince your parents to move, they are still refusing. At this point, it doesn’t hurt to ask for outside help. After all, no parent wants to listen to their child. Maybe they’ll listen to someone in a more authoritative position, like a healthcare aide or a social worker.

When you seek advice from someone who isn’t a blood relative, it can remove the emotions from the equation. This will help your parent to see more clearly in the situation and avoid thinking that their child is simply trying to control them.

Can You Force a Parent to Move?

The short answer is no, you can’t make a parent move. No matter how stubborn a parent is being, you can’t physically force them to leave their home. They are independent and competent people with their own lives.

In some situations, if your parent is a threat to their own wellbeing or is not considered to be legally competent, social services may be able to step in and help. In these cases, social workers will observe your parent and their home. If there is significant reason to believe the person is in harm’s way, guardianship can be obtained.

This may be a lengthy legal process, but if you are granted guardianship, you will have control over your parent’s decisions. Guardianship should be the worst case option and only happen if your parent is in serious harm and consistently refusing assistance.

Helping your parent to gain clarity is essential. Instead of approaching the conflict with anger, taking a lighthearted and understanding approach could ease tensions and decrease the stress of everybody involved.

You want what’s best for your parent…make sure that they know that.

If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation.  Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.

Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia CareBed & Wheelchair Transfer AssistanceCompanionshipHousekeeping & Meal PreparationPersonal CareRecovery Care, and Transportation.

Serving the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater San Diego, Family Matter In-Home Care has offices throughout California including: Campbell, CARoseville, CASan Marcos, CA, and San Mateo, CA.

Carol Pardue-Spears

Carol has worked in the healthcare field for more than forty years. As a Certified Nursing Assistant, she worked for El Camino Hospital in the cardiac unit, Los Gatos Community Hospital, The Women’s Cancer Center in Los Gatos and several home health and hospice agencies. Carol founded Family Matters in 2002 to fill a deficit she witnessed in high-quality, in-home services and care.

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