Many seniors are faced with a move whether they are leaving their longtime homes to downsize or are moving into an assisted living facility. The moving process is a stressful task for just about anyone, but moving at an age where one’s physical capabilities are not as they once were is even more challenging. Fortunately there are a few ways you can help your senior have a productive and stress-free move without all of the physical wear and tear. Here’s a few ways to make moving day a success!

Hire movers

Even if your senior seems to be in good health, having them participate in moving boxes can have negative effects on their body. Many seniors have limited mobility or brittle bones and grabbing the wrong box can lead to a trip to the hospital. To be on the safe side, it’s best to hire movers to assist in lifting boxes and moving furniture (don’t forget to shop around and compare rates).

The National Association of Senior Move Managers makes it easy for you to find skilled movers that specialize in the relocation of seniors. Their mission is to facilitate the physical and emotional aspects of relocation for older adults and to promote the delivery of their services with compassion and integrity. The job of a Senior Move Manager is to assist with organizing, sorting and downsizing, as well as create a customized floor plan for the senior’s new home so that they will be able to visualize where their belongings will fit. They also pack up the old residence and unpack and set up the new home while letting the elder decide where they want to place their belongings. Making the decision to hire a Senior Move Manager is definitely a one-stop-shop approach to moving, but if you prefer a more hands on approach, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with rallying up friends and family to assist with the move.

Be understanding during the packing process

For a senior, moving can be a very emotional process. Many of them do not like leaving behind what is comfortable and familiar so the abrupt change of surroundings can be met with some resistance. When you are helping your senior sort through old belongings, try to be compassionate and understanding about what they are going through. Reminisce with them as you go through their possessions and decide on what to keep and what to toss. Have a positive attitude while you are packing together to influence your senior to look forward to the great things their new home will offer. Support them when they feel anxious or sad, but always try to encourage excitement. Be sure to pack a suitcase with all of their immediate needs that will be easy for them to access on the first few days of living in their new home. This should include medications, toiletries, clothes and any other basic need. If your senior has any special equipment or mobility supplies, be sure to work with the movers or relatives to ensure that those items are easily accessible during the move.

Unpacking in the new home

The best way for your senior to transition into their new home with ease is to make their new place look and feel like home. Recognition is the most important factor when dealing with seniors so pull out a few of their favorite things and begin decorating the home in a way that they would appreciate. Keep in mind that the more familiar pieces that are in their view, the more happier they become. If they would like to help with decorating, allow them the freedom to arrange things however they would like and make sure their opinion is heard and valued. This will give them a sense of independence and it will make their adjustment into the new space less traumatic.

Even with all the physical and emotional stressors that come with moving, with preparation the process doesn't have to be a nuisance. Helping your elder transition into a new home can actually be a great bonding experience and provide you with fresh, new memories. Remember to be patient and kind as you help them get accustomed to this new phase of their journey!

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Author: Jim Vogel