Moving is never easy. However, for seniors and the people who love them, the move to long-term care comes with its own unique challenges. In a recent blog, we discussed how to manage the emotional aspects of moving. In this entry, we’ll look at the issue from a different angle by identifying and addressing the practical challenges that may arise during a move. Read on for a roundup of seven tips aimed at helping your aging loved one prepare for a smooth move and transition to senior living.
1. Allow plenty of time.
Most senior homes are filled with a lifetime’s worth of accumulations. Sorting and organizing these belongings during the downsizing process is not only time-consuming but also physically and emotionally exhausting. If possible, allow enough time for you and your aging loved one to work at a comfortable pace rather than trying to accomplish everything in a single day or weekend. Not having to rush can reduce anxiety over the process. It also offers the opportunity to reminisce together as you go.
2. Identify cherished items in advance.
Moving can be sad and stressful—especially when it means leaving treasured possessions behind. However, downsizing is a necessary part of the process. One way to minimize feelings of loss? Identify cherished items before you start packing up. Help your aging loved one determine which belongings are non-negotiable. Knowing that these precious things are accounted for can make it easier to let other things go.
In the case of a larger item that may not fit in the new living space, ask your loved one if they know someone who might like it. Rather than feeling sad over parting with a belonging, your aging loved one may feel happy to know that a friend or family member will have the chance to enjoy it, too.
3. Work your way into it.
Start in the least-used rooms in the house. Why? Because they contain items that are less likely to be needed. If you’ve already determined the absolute must-haves, inventorying lesser-used rooms should be relatively quick and painless. It can also help you and your loved one ease into the process.
4. Organize by destination.
People often lament the packing process. They also tend to overlook another equally unpleasant part of moving: unpacking. To make unpacking easier, organize items according to their final destination as you pack. Also, include boxes for donating and trash. Avoid creating “maybe” piles which will require revisiting later on.
5. Use the floor plan.
There’s nothing worse than moving a bunch of stuff from one home to another only to realize that it doesn’t fit. Spare yourself this headache and heartache by creating a floor plan layout in advance. Ask the long-term care facility for a detailed copy of the floor plan for your aging loved one’s apartment with dimensions marked for each room. Next, measure all the furniture. With this information, you should be able to design a foolproof layout for each room.
6. Prepare a “Moving Day” box.
There’s nothing worse than needing something important during a move and being unable to quickly lay hands on it. Designating a box for moving day essentials and other valuables can help ensure that you'll be able to find important papers, medications, favorite snacks, and other necessities when you need them. Rather than going with the movers, this box stays with you.
7. Enlist help.
In a perfect world, you’d have the time and resources to handle your aging loved one’s move on your own. In the hectic world in which we live, however, finding the right help while moving can go a long way toward making the process bearable. If possible, enlist family members to join in the effort. Not only do many hands make light work, but seniors also benefit from being surrounded by their loved ones.
Hiring experienced professionals can also be invaluable. Many Marjorie P. Lee community members have worked with Jennifer's Moving Matters during their moves. This Cincinnati-based move-in coordinator specializes in senior relocation services.
If your aging loved one hasn’t sold his/her house yet or has another real estate concern, Judy Pogue is another local resource who has worked with many of our community members and their families. As Vice President of Corporate and Lifestyle Transition Services for Comey & Shepherd, she can help with both selling and relocating.
One last thing to keep in mind during the moving process? Focusing on the benefits of moving can help seniors maintain a positive mindset. For example, upcoming changes to Marjorie P. Lee's long-term care households mean that our retirement community members will now enjoy more options, features, and benefits—all with the signature elegance and comfort upon which we pride ourselves. For more information on premier senior living in Cincinnati at Marjorie P. Lee or to schedule a tour, visit our website.