We recently examined four common reasons that inspire older adults to consider a move into a premier senior living community. Perhaps a confluence of factors has convinced you that you’d rather enjoy retirement living in the company of like-minded peers supported by a compassionate staff in an impeccably cared for environment. But what should you do after you’ve chosen your new retirement community? Where do you begin?
1. Ready Your House for Sale
If you’re currently a homeowner and need to sell, ask trusted friends and relatives if they can suggest a good real estate agent. Consider a Seniors Real Estate Specialist® who is specifically qualified to address the needs of senior homebuyers and sellers. However you choose to proceed, do interview at least three agents, ask each for references, and follow up with their clients to select the one most appropriate for your situation.
2. Study Your New Floor Plan
Obtain the layout of your new home and use the measurements to determine which pieces of your furniture can accompany you. Take photos of your existing room décor to make unpacking and placing items in your new home easier.
3. Plan Your Downsizing Strategy
Although it may seem like an overwhelming, Herculean effort, sorting through your life’s acquisitions and packing everything up is manageable if you get an early start and take it in small chunks. Take one room at a time and one drawer or closet at a time. Make your three piles of keep, donate, and trash. Remind yourself that clutter-free living has many benefits:
- You have fewer items to collect dust, reducing airborne allergens that aggravate upper respiratory conditions.
- You're opening up more space for you to move around your home safely. Falls in the home and the serious injuries they cause send over 700,000 seniors to hospitals each year.
- A messy and cluttered home can make you feel stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed. It drains your energy and interferes with your ability to fully relax.
- Re-using and re-purposing your items is good for the environment.
For more inspiration and helpful tips, download our free eBook, “Downsizing Doesn’t Mean Downgrading: Right-Sizing Your Senior Living.”
You might also contact The National Association of Senior Move Managers, a group that helps older adults and their families with the transitional process of downsizing and relocating.
4. Choose Your Method of Moving
If you’ll be using professional movers, obtain estimates from at least three companies two months prior to your move. Insist that they come to your home and physically inspect your possessions. Look into local senior moving resources available to you through the Chamber of Commerce or other agencies.
Once you have the transportation of your belongings squared away, consider how you will be making your way to your new home. Will you be driving yourself, be driven by another, or fly to your retirement living community? Are you taking a pet with you? Book all of your transportation and accommodation reservations early to avoid last minute stress.
5. Notify Everyone
A month before your move, notify all of your creditors, financial institutions, friends, and relatives of your new address. Fill out the post office change-of-address card and alert all utility companies to your shut-off day. Transfer your prescriptions and your medical records if you’re moving out of the area.
6. Start Packing
Even if you just fill one or two boxes a day, you’re making progress. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Clearly label each box with the room that the movers should put it in, and make a note to yourself about the contents. For items you’ll need immediately upon arrival in your new home, mark the boxes “Open First!”
7. Settle in Smoothly
Be patient with yourself for everything you’re going through. A move is a big deal for even the youngest and most resilient of people. Unpack the essentials, and then give yourself as much time as you need to set up your new home.
Attend a social event in your new community to meet your neighbors as soon as you’re up to it and introduce yourself to the staff. The sooner you begin to form supportive relationships, the quicker you’ll realize that choosing your new retirement living community is one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.