Life Options for Seniors
Helpful Tips for Stress-Free Move
Get everyone in the family involved
Plan and get as much help as you can from everyone in the family. Moving from you home into a smaller setting is often a grieving time for your loved one. Encourage the person who's moving to participate actively in decisions. Often, adult children want to throw away old furniture and buy nicer ones for their parent's new home. But your loved one should be able to pick what goes into their new home. Your loved one knows what will make them most comfortable in their new home, and sentimental value often trumps aesthetics.
It is critical to allow enough time for the move so that seniors will not have to feel rushed through the process. Sifting through a lifetime of belongings is stressful and often emotionally upsetting. Give them plenty of time and space to recognize and understand that a significant change is taking place. It is also essential to let them get involved in the planning and preparation. Keep in mind that seemingly worthless belongings may have sentimental value for your loved one, and he/she will need time to sort through his/her things on his/her terms. Use this time to reminisce with your loved one, go through the love letters, the report cards, and the photographs. This process will help reaffirm the full, productive life that he/she has had. As previously mentioned, moving is a stressful time for anyone involved, but perhaps even more so for seniors. As challenging as the moving process may be for you, your loved one is probably going through just as much mental turmoil or anguish.
Know the size of the new place and accept your loved one's choices about what to keep
Often, people take more stuff than will fit in their new space. Avoid this situation by first getting a sense of how much square footage and storage your loved one will have in his new home. Be sure to sort with sensitivity when it comes time to eliminate possessions. Inquire whether they use the item often or if they would consider donating it to a favorite charity. If something they would like to hang on to but won't fit into the new space, offer to keep it in the family by passing it on to a grandchild or another relative. They might find it easier to part with sentimental items or souvenirs if they are going to a familiar place. However, there are limits. If your mother wants to keep her antique doll collection, she may have to let go of other non-essential items.
If a loved one is still unwilling to get rid of something, you may need to get him/her moved in first and worried about eliminating the non-essential household items later.
Take on One Room at a Time
Sort items into piles. One pile for things to go to the new home, one for family members, one for those to keep in storage, one for those to donate, one for those to sell, and one for those to throw away. If you are uneasy about throwing anything away, a donation is a way to go. Many organizations will arrange a pickup at his home; check your local charities for pickup policies. Be sure to get a receipt so you can deduct the value of the donation on your next tax return. In addition to labeling what's in the boxes, it's helpful to add which room the items will be going into. (living room, kitchen, and bedroom). It is essential to try to relocate their belongings familiarly so their new home will be as welcoming and as comfortable as the old one. Maintain as much detail as possible when arranging the furniture and even the family pictures to make the new place feel like home.
You'll need to be patient with your family member and him/her time to adjust to all the changes. It things get too overwhelming, professional movers can help families with the emotional and organizational aspect of moving.