Helping a senior make a household move can be an opportunity to reconnect or solidify your relationship. It also can be challenging and requires planning and organizational skills. The move also can be emotional if a senior relocates from a longtime home into a retirement community or assisted living facility. Moving can also be frightening for senior citizens, especially if health issues force the move.
Here are some tips on how to help a senior move.
1. Communicate Openly
Communicate honestly, especially if health issues are behind the move. Discuss their feelings about the move and allow them to express their grief. Let them make as many decisions as possible to help ease their anxiety.
2. Watch for Stress Symptoms
The stress of moving can sometimes negatively affect seniors’ health, especially if their health is already poor. Some will have trouble sleeping, lose weight, show signs of depression, or fall more often as the moving date nears.
In extreme cases, the senior may suffer from relocation stress syndrome, including disorientation, combativeness, or extreme duress. If these symptoms occur, contact a doctor.
3. Plan Early
Develop a moving plan as early as possible. Gather a floor plan of the new home to see which furnishings and personal items will fit in their new home. If the senior is moving into a retirement home, find out what furnishings come with their apartment.
Also, develop a timeline and check off each task as you complete it. One of the first tasks will be to gather estimates from movers and sign a contract with one well ahead of the date.
4. Allow Time for Sorting
Sorting is difficult and time-consuming for many people, but especially seniors. Often they’ve lived in their home for a long time and have collected many treasures.
As you help them sort, allow time and space for them to reminisce about objects. Being able to tell their stories helps relieve their sense of loss. Take photographs of meaningful things that will not fit in the new space. If the person is a collector, consider having them choose two of their favorite pieces to bring with them and photograph the others.
If parting with the objects is challenging and the senior has a sufficient budget, ask about storage options onsite or near their new community.
5. Discuss Favorite Features
Find out what features of their current home appeal most to them so you can try to re-create them in the new home. For example, if your dad enjoys watching sports on a big-screen TV, find out if you can mount one in the new place. If they like eating breakfast in their nook with big windows, look for an apartment with bright morning light.
6. Help Them Settle In
Plan to spend time with your loved one when they move to help them unpack and adjust. Set up everything in a way that is comfortable and familiar to them.
We Can Help
We have moved many seniors into their new homes. We can provide advice and professional service to ensure the move goes smoothly. Contact us for an estimate.