Moving is a tough process for any person, at any age, but for those with declining physical abilities, moving becomes even more challenging. Whether your senior is moving into a smaller apartment or going to live in an assisted living facility, the best way to ensure a smooth transition is to have a hands-on approach to help them through the process. Here are a few ways you can eliminate physical and emotional trauma on moving day.
Hire movers or enlist family members to help
Because of the fragile nature of a senior’s body, it would be wise to not have them involved in the lifting and moving process. If they have limited mobility or fragile bones, one wrong move can land them in the hospital. Prepare ahead of time to find out the best way to move their belongings. If you will be hiring movers, work with them closely to make sure the necessary medical supplies and equipment stay easily accessible and do not become damaged during the move.
Organizations such as the National Association of Senior Move Managers pride themselves in specializing in the relocation of older adults. Senior Move Managers take all of the work off your hands because they pack up your senior’s old home and design a customized plan for the new home that will allow your senior to visualize how their new home will look. These managers also unpack and set up the new home, leaving it turnkey ready.
Enlisting family members and friends is also an effective way to help your senior move and it is also cost efficient! Remember that this move will be emotionally taxing on your loved one so having lots of familiar faces around to help with the move will be a welcomed experience. Your senior may have a hard time parting with some old belongings or leaving their home in general so it’s imperative that you and anyone else assisting with the move display a positive attitude. Find a balance between supporting them through their anxieties while encouraging them to be excited about their new home! Try not to rush them in the packing process, and take the time to reminisce and reflect with them while you are deciding what will be kept and what will be disposed. The gentler you are, the more receptive they will be toward the moving process.
When you are packing, be sure to have an easily accessible suitcase with all of their immediate needs such as prescriptions, eyeglasses, clothes and toiletries. This will eliminate having to dig through various boxes after moving into the new place. It will also ease your senior’s anxieties if they know exactly where their most important belongings are.
Make the new place feel homey
One of the hardest things for a senior to do is leave what has become familiar to them. Being outside of their comfort zone may be met with resistance, so it’s best to pull out a few of their favorite things and have them on display when they arrive in the new place. Because recognition is a key factor in dealing with seniors, the more familiar pieces are in their view, the more comfortable they will become. Allow them to decorate how they wish because it is very important to empower them and let them make decisions for their new home. Keep in mind that the transition into their new home will be a lot smoother and less traumatic if the space has a few memory sparks in view.
Although your senior may be sad about moving into a new place, with encouragement and patience on your end, they can begin to look forward to this new experience. Making the moving process as stress free (and inexpensive) as possible not only makes the transition easier, it also makes more time for bonding and creating more memories!
Guest blogger submission courtesy of Jim Vogel of ElderAction.org