Moving is exhausting and exciting. Just thinking about an impending move is enough to immobilize even the most motivated person. For seniors, the thought of a move is more than just physically tiring; it can trigger grief, sadness, and loss of control.
Many seniors have lived in their homes for a very long time. They have accumulated memories and treasures, all considered priceless, and very difficult to give up. When it comes time to consider a move, these possessions can be the biggest obstacle you will have to overcome.
Downsizing or Moving an Older Adult
Who chooses what comes and goes?
What happens to the rest?
Plans for extra “stuff”?
Will you need a storage unit?
Big decisions like relocating to senior living are an important part of an aging plan. Taking time to plan and allowing senior adults the time to process the situation can make all the difference. A plan and willingness to reach out for help are the keys to reducing stress during what can be a difficult time.
Women Make 80% of Healthcare Decisions
If you think older adults are stressed by the thought of moving, consider their adult children. While caring for families of their own, the adult daughter (or daughter-in-law) is most often placed in a position to make decisions for older adults. Let’s call them what they are - American Mom: Chief Family Health Officer.
Is there help for the overwhelmed, yet well-intentioned adult child who wants to assist an older adult in moving to senior living or downsizing their home? What about reorganizing an existing home to create a safer, more senior-friendly space? Thankfully, that answer is yes - you need the knowledge and expertise of a senior move manager.
Moves are Made Easy with a Senior Move Manager
Moving can be made infinitely easier when you invite the experience and knowledge of a relocation professional. Don’t worry. They’ve seen it all. Your home becomes a Judgement Free Zone – they can only see the potential of how your space can work better for you. If it’s a move to a new senior living apartment, they have already imagined the space right down to hanging the last picture.
Whether you are planning a move for yourself or supporting aging parents in relocating, there are steps you can take to be more successful. If you are looking to reduce stress and manage move-related anxiety for helping an older adult move, here are a few helpful tips.
5 Tips for a Successful Senior Move
- Use time wisely.
- Save your memories.
- Recycle hazardous waste.
- Space plan your new home.
- Ask for help.
1. It's Never too early to start preparing for a move.
If you know you are moving, it’s time to start preparing. Don’t fall into the trap of moving things you don’t use to your new space. Start small with a closet and start eliminating the things you don’t need or use. You can donate, give away, or simply throw away these things rather than bring them with you. it is appropriate for a senior to stay in their home, but changes need to be made for the space to be more user-friendly.
In some instances, it is appropriate for the senior to stay in their home, but changes are needed to make the space more user-friendly. Downsizing, decluttering, and organizing help create a successful space for a senior with decreased mobility. If the answer is for mom and/or dad to stay at home, use the opportunity to continue discussions about what happens to the “stuff” – it’s never too early to prepare for a move, right?
2. Smaller spaces need smart solutions for storing memories.
A move to senior living usually means downsizing to a smaller space. Photo albums, VHS tapes, and all the other shapes and sizes of tapes, CDs, and gadgets that hold a lifetime of love and adventure can take up some room. Give the gift that keeps on giving and have those memories digitized.
Once the memories are digitized, you can easily share them with other members of the family. Memories of evenings spent setting up the 8mm reel-to-reel projector and painstakingly threading the film onto the sprockets are honored with the push of a button, a flip of the switch. Voila. It will take you longer to pop the popcorn than get set up for an impromptu stroll down memory lane!
3. Properly dispose of hazardous waste materials.
If your parents have lived in the same home for years, it is likely that there are old paint cans and other hazardous materials that have accumulated. Take the time to put together a box of these items and safely transport them to the hazardous waste disposal. It’s more time-consuming than you may think, and you’ll be glad you crossed this one off the list!
Common Household Hazardous Waste Materials
4. Measure twice and you’ll only move once.
Ever fall into the trap of eyeballing something? Downsizing your home is not the time to rely on the accuracy of your eyeballs. Measure the pieces of furniture you want to bring with you and measure the place you want it to go. Numbers don’t lie – a 6-foot couch will never fit in a 4-foot space!
Be realistic about what will fit in the new space, right down to the artwork on the walls, statues, and other heirlooms that are joining you at the new apartment. You can avoid extra work and frustration by using the floor plan to plan ahead. Is it time for all-new streamlined furniture? Maybe – but there are also benefits to sticking with what’s familiar.
5. With a senior move manager, you don’t have to do it alone.
Many seniors and adult children experience anxiety with the first thought of a move. That’s why senior move managers exist. Whether you are just organizing an existing home to promote safety or relocating to a senior living apartment, a senior move manager can keep everyone moving forward. Additionally, they can reduce stress by handling the tasks that can cause frustration.
Think your parents have too much stuff? Mortified at the thought of someone seeing All. The. Things? Senior move managers are there for you with no judgment, just solutions. Their experience and training have prepared them for emotional attachments, difficulty letting go, and fear of the unknown that fuels heated interactions within families.
The compassion and unique skills of a senior move manager are two reasons they are one of the Resources We Love. Moving at any age can be daunting and deeply emotional – there’s no shame in asking for help. From busy professionals to older adults moving to senior living, a senior move manager has the know-how you need to physically and emotionally declutter. Read more about Senior Move Managers in the Resources Section of our Blog.