A home is more than just four walls and a roof. Home is a place that provides comfort and safety. A place that holds memories. All of these qualities grow the longer you live in the same home. Because of this, having to move to a new home can be very upsetting – especially for the elderly. Not only is it harder for seniors to endure a move physically, but it is also difficult emotionally. After all, they have spent years of their time, effort and money to create a home they truly love. Moving seniors can be an enormous challenge, requiring time, organization, and lots of patience. You will also need the assistance of the guide below that will hold your hand as you go through all of the stages of the senior relocation process.
Moving house is always a time of difficulty and worry. But for the elderly, leaving a cozy, comfortable place that has been their home for many years can be a time of great sadness and apprehension. The main cause of this distress is the perceived sense of loss – a loss of control, independence and self. In order to ensure a smooth transition, reducing your parents sense of loss and powerlessness is a must. To do this, communication is of utmost importance. To create an open line of communication:
- Discuss the matter at length. Talk with your parents about why they need to move and their options for where they can move to;
- Be patient. Give your parents time to think about moving, grieve their loss, and also accept the changes that are to come;
- Be positive. Point out the good aspects of them moving – less responsibilities, less work, increased safety, better healthcare, the chance to spend more time with you and their grandchildren (if moving closer to you).
- Give them choices. Let them choose their new home or living community. Allow them to be part of the moving preparations, letting them decide what belongings they will take with them, etc.
After a decision is made about whether or not your parents will be moving – and where they will be moving to – it is time to start planning the relocation. With every move, a great deal of time, effort and organization occurs. For a senior move, you will need to accomplish a number of important tasks, such as:
- Downsizing your parent’s belongings.
- Packing your parent’s belongings.
- Hiring professional movers that are experts in handling a senior move.
When packing for a move, the elderly are not just packing mere belongings. They are packing memories, keepsakes, and other essential elements from their life. Because they will need to limit the amount of items they move with them, packing can be a longer-than-usual process. To make the packing process efficient and stress-free, you should:
Be considerate and patient. While you may want to just throw things into boxes and donate gobs of other items, it’s important to be considerate and patient with your parents at this time. Ask them what they’d like to do themselves and what they will need help with. While it’s a good idea to help them sort their belongings and steer them in the direction of getting rid of nonessential items, be sure to let them have the final say in what they keep and what they say goodbye to.
Start early. As we just mentioned, it can take time for your parents to decide what belongings to keep and which ones to toss. This is why it’s important to start the packing process early – around three – four months before moving day.
Begin with simple tasks. Easing into the packing process will make it much more bearable on everyone involved. So begin with simple tasks first. For example, try having your parents pack a room in their home that doesn’t hold much emotional attachment, such as a guest room or study.
Another way to help make the moving process easier is to focus on one area at a time. This will make everything that needs to be accomplished less overwhelming.
Pack an essentials box. The first few day after a move is always the hardest. Unpacking, finding specific items you need, and so on. This is why packing an essentials box is a must In this specific box, pack the most must-needed items your parents will need during those first few days after moving. This way they will have easy access to the necessities – medication, toiletries, clothes, basic kitchen items, etc.
Ensure the safety of belongings. Moving is hard enough without suffering the loss of items that were damaged during transportation. While packing, take the necessary steps to ensure all of your parent’s belongings are safely packed to ensure they make it from Point A to Point B on moving day.
Label all boxes. To keep the packing process organized, be sure to label all moving boxes, furniture and other belongings clearly. When labeling, include the specific location that each box, etc. is to go in at your parents’ new home. It is also a good idea to label boxes with their contents to make unpacking easier. For items that require special instructions, be sure to state them on the labels.
When the day of the move arrives, emotions will run high for everyone involved, especially your parents. You will need to be extra cautious in order to keep everything running smoothly and error-free. Here are some things to consider on this stressful day:
- Be present on moving day to supervise all moving activities as well as the emotional state of your parents.
- Take the necessary precautions to eliminate the risk of accidents and injuries during the move.
- Set aside any items that should not be loaded on the moving truck (an essentials box, valuable items, or important documents).
- Take the time to double check the house before leaving it for good. Ensure nothing has been left behind.
- Create a safe and comfortable trip for the senior(s) as they relocate to their new home.
- After the move, help your parents settle in to their new home. Place all o their belongings in the correct places and ensure they are able to freely and safely navigate through their new home.
- If your parents have moved to a retirement community or assisted living facility, ensure they know how to reach staff for assistance.