Moving Seniors

These days, more and more seniors are moving. Many of them are looking for smaller homes where they can thrive and not have to worry about such a large place to take care of. Since the kids moved away, there are plenty of areas in larger homes that aren’t even used anymore, making it inefficient and difficult to keep up with such an empty home. Other seniors need to move so that they can be closer to family members who can help them live independently despite their age.

Helping a senior citizen relocate is a task fraught with some specific challenges, regardless of the reasoning behind the move. Knowing about those challenges ahead of time can make the process easier for everyone. Following are some of the most common challenges, as well as some tips on handling them, which will enable you to help the senior in your life make a seamless transition to their new home.

Sentimentalism

When you’ve lived in the same home for many years, it can be specifically difficult to leave the walls in which so many memories are kept. Everything that needs to be packed seems to have a special meaning and a story to go with it, making the moving process that much more difficult. It might seem like a good idea to pack things up when the senior you are helping isn’t looking, but that can be problematic as well, leaving the senior feeling as if things are spiraling out of their control.

Regardless of how large the home is, taking the necessary steps to ensure things are moved with the senior in charge can make the difference between an easy transition and a horrible one. Here are some ideas on overcoming challenges related to sentimental issues.

  • Plan ahead so that you have an excess amount of time to do packing in.
  • Sit down with the senior in question and talk about what you can pack on your own, like a bathroom, and what they would like to pack.
  • Allow time for the senior to tell the stories associated with items being placed in boxes.
  • Get extra packing supplies so that you can wrap delicate items extra careful so they do not break.
  • Work with the person instead of for them.
  • Do not hire a mover to pack things unless absolutely necessary. Letting the senior pack their things can help bring closure to this part of their life.

Slow Moving

Most seniors move a lot slower than people who are younger, making it so that simple things, like packing a box, takes longer. This can be a problem when you are on a time schedule, during which the move needs to be completed. Regardless of how much the senior has, this can present a real challenge when you are trying to keep the senior involved in the process, allowing them control, but you need to get things done on time before the movers arrive.

While larger homes will obviously take longer anyways, there are some things that you can do no matter what size home the senior has to reduce the time spent getting ready and actually making the transition. Consider implementing some of the following tips into your overall moving process.

  • Again, plan ahead so that there is plenty of time in which to do things.
  • Instead of having the senior move around the house to pack, consider building a staging area where you can bring things and have them pack them. The kitchen table is a great place for this.
  • Be ready to help with mobility issues. Plan ahead and alert any homes or apartment complexes that you will need special dispensation for such things.
  • Be patient. Moving with a senior will take some extra time, but in the end, your patience will pay off in the fact that the senior you are helping will be able to make the transition easily.

Fear of Change

Piggy-backing on what was said previously about sentimentalism, many seniors often have a hard time dealing with the idea of changes that are inherent in the moving process. Some of them outright fear change, while others are able to deal with the smaller changes, like the layout of a new home, but fear the larger issues, like living in a new neighborhood. It can be especially difficult to adjust to things when you have lived in one place for a quarter of a decade or more, which is why the right approach can make all the difference in the world when it comes to a move.

    • Instead of assuming the senior you are working with will easily be able to handle the adjustments, consider taking things in steps where they are involved.
    • Take pictures of the home as it is, before packing, so that you can make an attempt to set it up the way it was before the move, or at least set some areas of the new home up in similar ways.
    • Take the senior with you when you are looking at new homes or places to live so that they can see them and get familiar with the one that is ultimately chosen.
    • Research the area online and find information on activities, places of interest, and anything that the person in question might be interested in knowing. The more that is known about the place a person is going, the more familiar that place becomes before the move.
    • Sign up for some kind of club, group, or senior based activity that will help the senior meet others and become part of the community, making the transition simpler.

Helping a senior citizen move can be a difficult thing to do, but there are ways of handling every challenge that happens to come along throughout the process. Keep these things in mind and you’ll see that moving to a new place with the elderly person in your life doesn’t have to be a troubling nightmare.