Moving is a taxing experience. When things get tough and tiresome, you’ll know how to push on or when to take a break. But what about elderly members of your family? You may not know the best way to help them through a move. Whether they’re moving with you, or you’re helping them move themselves, these tips will help you ease them through the moving process.
Before getting to the day of the move itself, it’s important to cover how to handle the months leading up to the big day. In reality, there’s more to learn about the pre-move than there is about the move.
For seniors, the real start of the moving process is informing them that it’s happening. It’s important to be straightforward about every aspect of the move so they know what to expect. Having these conversations is especially important if their style of living will change in any significant way, such as to a smaller place or to assisted living. And in that regard, the sooner you tell them and can start preparing them, the better. If you would have difficulty making tough decisions concerning aspects of the move, think about how much more difficult it would be for the elderly members of your family. So give them plenty of time to soak in the information and decide what to do with their belongings.
When informed about the big change, they should start becoming familiar with their new environment. The more comfortable and knowledgeable they are with their soon-to-be new home, the more likely the process of deciding what to keep and let go will run smoothly. The dimensions of their new place will also help determine what furniture can and cannot make the move.
You’ll want to help an elderly person sort through their things, but allow them to make their own decisions as much as possible. The likelihood that they are downsizing is strong, and that means they’ll have to part with many of their things. There will be plenty of difficult calls, and that’s where you can provide them the most support. Especially with more personal possessions, you can suggest giving them to relatives. With some of their less personal possessions, recommend donating to charities.
When starting the packing process, begin with the rooms that have the fewest personal items. The most emotional and difficult rooms to pack should be left for last. This is likely their bedroom, filled with pictures and other intimate belongings. And when packing, keep a few sentimental things off to the side for them to take with while the movers do their thing. These possessions will be emotional support for them while they are without the rest of their things during the move.
You’ll want to consider hiring a Senior Move Manager, someone who specializes in these types of moves, but you should carefully choose a moving company regardless. Like you would for yourself, be thorough in your search. And after you’ve chosen a mover, communicate with them ahead of time for a fluid transition.
When the big day comes, your elderly family members should be well rested and as ready as possible to take on the move. You’ll start in the same way as when you informed them of the move; make sure they know what to expect before it all takes place. Most importantly, be reassuring. You likely have your own concerns and jitters, but you giving them the assurance that their belongings will be safe and secure will help ease their worries. Introducing them to the movers will also help soothe their anxiousness. If there are medications you’ll need to have on hand, confirm that you have them and you know exactly where they’ll be.
You’re handling a big task, but with these tips in mind and your preparation, you should be set to take it on.