By Jim Vogle. Elder Action (elderaction.org)
At any age, moving can be quite the stressful task; however, for older adults, that process is even more challenging. Not only is moving an emotional occasion for a senior, but it is also very taxing on their body. That’s why it is important to have a foolproof plan set in place to make their moving experience as stress-free as possible! Here are a few tips to ensure a successful moving day for the senior in your life!
Hire movers or enlist family
With many seniors having health issues such limited mobility or brittle bones, it is best not to have them participate in lifting boxes or moving furniture. Several movers offer special services for helping seniors relocate to a new home, or you may choose to keep things personal and enlist family to do the job. The National Association of Senior Move Managers is an organization groomed in assisting older adults to relocate into smaller homes or assisted living facilities. If you hire a move manager, their job includes organizing and sorting your loved one’s belongings, supervising professional packing and unpacking and setting up the new home. They will also arrange for the disposal of unwanted items through an estate sale, consignment or donations. Hiring a Senior Move Manager is a great way to ensure that the move goes off without a hitch and is truly a one-stop-shop experience.
If you choose to have friends and relatives help with the move, be sure that everyone has a positive and uplifting attitude. Because your senior may not be receptive to the idea of leaving such a huge part of their life behind, it is important for everyone associated with the moving process to be compassionate and encouraging. Talk to your senior about the move positively, and make them aware of the good things to come with living in their new home. Allow them time to grieve or reminisce while packing, but be sure to find a balance between offering support for their anxieties and encouraging excitement.
Packing and unpacking
The first bag that needs to be packed is one with all the essentials your senior will need as soon as they get into their new home. This bag should include their daily prescriptions, clothes, toiletries and any other immediate necessities and it needs to be easily accessible. If your senior has medical equipment be sure to work with the movers or your relatives to ensure that they can be easily accessed during the moving process.
Be sure not to get so caught up in the move that your loved one’s opinion is drowned out. They may have specific ideas of what they would like their new home to look like so it’s imperative that you empower them and allow them to make decisions and be heard. Giving your senior the chance to arrange rooms the way they want will make the transition into their new home easier, and they will feel a sense of independence.
Make the new place feel like home
Recognition is a key factor when dealing with relocating seniors. Because they may be resistant to such a change, it’s important to pull out all of their favorite things so that the new place feels like home. Deck the walls with their favorite portraits or paintings and drape their favorite blanket on the arm of the sofa. The more familiar pieces that are in their view, the happier and more comfortable they will be.
The moving process is almost always guaranteed to come with a few hiccups; however, with preparation you can ease your senior into their new living environment with minimal stress (not to mention minimal cost if you compare mover rates). Remember to treat them with care and patience on this new phase in their life!