Let’s be honest, moving isn’t fun at any age. According to a research study, “6 out of 10 people voted that moving homes was their most stressful life event”. For our Seniors, it can be an even more daunting experience.
There are several factors that can create stress when moving homes
- Thought of losing important relationships
- Fear of the unknown
- Changes to your daily routines – places you shop, eat, socialize
- Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of packing your belongings
- Feeling sad or depressed about not being able to take all of your things to your new home
- The physical toll on your body
But you can reduce the anxiety around moving by following some simple steps.
Comfort Home Care has been providing senior in-home care since 1999. Our mission is to support and enhance the quality of life of our seniors while they live out their final days/months/years. To us, it is important that our clients feel they never lose dignity and independence.
We have helped countless clients transition to senior living facilities and assisted living facilities over the last two decades. It has given us an opportunity to understand some important steps that can help ease the fear and stress of the move.
5 Tips to Reduce Stress When Moving
Collaboration is very important for your senior. They want…need…to feel part of the decision-making process. It is after all where they will be spending a majority of their time so it’s important that they feel comfortable with their new surroundings, the people in the community, and the new staff they will be interacting with.
Once the right senior care community/facility has been agreed upon, it will be time to set schedules, determine what can be taken with them, what will happen with the remainder of their possessions, source for movers, and send out notifications to friends and family sharing their new address.
After finding your senior their new home, going through their possessions will likely be the next most emotional and draining experience. A lifetime of memories are held in those possessions and it will be hard to part with most of them. And unfortunately, they will likely have to part with a good many, especially if they are moving from a house to an apartment-size residence.
Start early. Much earlier than you think you should. Let your senior spend the time reminiscing and appreciating each item as they decide what they want to do with them. Be patient as they tell you all the stories.
If you can’t make a final decision on some of the items, don’t get frustrated. Move them to a storage facility and revisit once the move is complete and your senior is settled into their new home and routine.
To help you tackle this big job we suggest:
- First, pack your important documents (birth/marriage certificates, passports, social security cards, wills, etc) together.
- Pack room by room.
- Sort by category – keep, give to family or friends, donate, discard, sell.
- Pack the out-of-season clothing first. You can pack current season clothing as you get closer to the move date.
- Label all the boxes clearly – by room and what’s inside.
- Pack your photographs, photo albums, framed pictures at the end of your move. You don’t want your senior staring at empty spots on the wall for weeks/months.
- Pack essentials last – medications, toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrush, shower gel/soap), a roll of toilet paper (no one wants to be hunting for that when the time comes), phone charger, and an extra set of clothes (including underwear).
Consider Hiring a Moving Specialist
Consider hiring a professional service to help you manage your move. A senior move manager can provide an invaluable level of support during the moving process. They can plan, coordinate, and organize the entire move process…relieving you of the time, stress and frustration.
Their services can include:
- Guiding clients through a structured process to eliminate clutter and organize belongings
- Arranging, sorting, and labeling possessions by category (keep, give, donate, discard, sell)
- Coordinating estate sales
- Coordinating and overseeing professional packing
- Discontinuing services in your current home and setting up in your new home where appropriate (lawn services, mail, newspaper delivery, etc)
- Hiring moving companies
- Setting up your new home – unpacking and organizing the kitchen, bathroom, etc.
The peace of mind a move manager can provide can be well worth the cost of their services. To find an accredited and insured move management company NASMM provides a search tool on their website.
Set Up Their New Home
This is another vital step that your senior needs to be actively involved in. This is their home. Make sure you are hearing how they want it to look and feel. The more familiar it feels the more quickly they will settle in and feel like they are at home.
We suggest that you ask your senior
- How they want their kitchen organized
- Where to place pictures/artwork on the walls
- What pictures they want on end/coffee tables and on their nightstand
- Where they want their medications placed
We also suggest that you stock their home with some of their favorite things
Be Patient and Focus On The Positives
This can be a very upsetting time for your loved one. The more rushed and frantic the move, the more overwhelmed and stressed they will become. Make sure you ask your senior how they are feeling and if it is becoming too overwhelming.
Make the process more fun and exciting by focusing on the positives. Remind them about the special features of their new community – the gardens or nearby park, the activities offered, the on-site restaurant, etc. Talk about the new people you met during your visits and the new friends they will get to make. Make plans to invite friends and family over to see their new place.
Their in-home care provider will be an invaluable resource during this time. They are a great ear to hear all the stories behind the possessions. They can help with the sorting. They can be a sounding board for your senior to vent their frustrations. They can remove them from the chaos, taking them for a walk, to the park, or to their favorite restaurant.
Once in their new home, their senior care aide will provide the daily consistency they have come to expect and the companionship they crave. They will continue to get help with the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). This will help alleviate unnecessary stress and anxiety as they settle in. Learn more about the supplemental care we provide our seniors who live in assisted living facilities.
If you would like our professionals at Comfort Home Care to provide senior care for your loved one before, during, and/or after their transition to a senior living facility reach out to us.