It is difficult to move to a new home. It’s even harder to move during an important life transition. When an elderly loved one has been moving from their family home for decades to a smaller living space, such as a condo or assisted living facility, the transition can be stressful for everyone involved. They are not just moving, they are downsizing; essentially “getting rid of” the assets they have been holding for years. That would be a difficult situation for anyone.
There is also a common phenomenon among the “Gen X” generation. They do a double duty: to take care of their children and to take care of their elderly parents or grandparents. They often have neither the time nor the emotional courage to effectively tackle downsizing and a major life transition.
Over the years we have taken and moved many seniors and the important thing is to remain organized, patient and respectful throughout the moving process. We have put in place important moving tips, especially for moving seniors, to ease the process and ease the transition for everyone involved.
Tips for moving seniors
- Start downsizing and sorting early. Be especially sensitive to the fact that getting rid of your belongings is one of the most difficult parts of the moving process. One tip is to make a list of family members and friends to give gifts to. In this way, goods are not “thrown away”; They are given as gifts. You can also suggest donating items to charity or selling them at a garage sale to earn a little more.
- Get a plan for the new living space. This will help you decide how much furniture to bring and what pieces to donate. You can plan the layout of the new living space as close as possible to the old house, for reasons of familiarity. Or, if it could cause too much heartache, you can help find a whole new style of interior design – something they’ve always wished they could do with their old house but never did. This can be an exciting part of the moving process, and something to look forward to.
- Allow more time than you think you need. Packing is a time-consuming process, and having a discussion for each personal item — whether it’s packing, giving, or getting rid of — will take much longer than you probably did. As you encounter each object, the memories associated with it come to the surface. You will probably learn many interesting stories and anecdotes during the long life of your loved one.
- Carefully check all pockets, bags, drawers and other places where small valuables, such as jewelry or money, may have been misplaced over the years. How many times have you yourself pocketed a pair of earrings or cufflinks in your purse or suit after a long night out?
We hope to help alleviate the stress of such a life transition. With these tips, you and your loved ones should take a step closer to a smooth move.