Moving Seniors – 10 Tips – Part One

Moving Seniors, Downsizing and Sorting through a Lifetime of Possessions.

Moving your loved one to a smaller home, nursing home or retirement residence can be daunting.

When helping your parents or any loved one move to a retirement home or in with you, take extra care and try to consider the following tips when assisting with their move.

Here are the first 5:

1. Be kind. This may seem like a given when moving seniors. However, when helping to sort and pack their things, keep in mind that their eyesight and an inability to do everything they used to do can result in poor housekeeping habits. Instead of commenting, offer to clean as you pack and try not to criticize.

When moving seniors and to keep the process less stressful, I recommend having a professional cleaning company provide a top to bottom clean. Ideally, before the home goes up for sale and weekly followup cleaning to maintain the house until it sells. And a final clean completed after it’s emptied.

2. Help sort. Like all of us, seniors tend to keep things they don’t necessarily need or will ever use. Be gentle when suggesting to get rid of possessions. Ask them if they use the item and if they would mind if you donate it. If it’s a treasure or something they’d like to keep but the new space can’t accommodate it, suggest keeping it in the family.

Recently we downsized and moved 91 year old May.  May gave her nephew the opportunity to take anything in the home that he liked.

Everything left after his weekend visit went to auction to be sold.

3. Take pictures of the inside of their home. As close as possible, try to place objects in a similar way so that their new home will feel very much like the old one. Be as detailed as you can from arranging the bedroom furniture to placing the family pictures on the bureau. This will help to make the new place feel like home. Familiarity is a huge help when moving seniors as it reduces their stress.

Each room was carefully packed. A few photos were taken so that each treasure and possession was placed in the new home just as May kept it.

All of her makeup, soaps and accessories were laid out on her bathroom vanity counter just as she kept them in her master bathroom.

4. Obtain a room layout of their new place. Find out before you move, how much space the new place has. If your parents are moving from a three bedroom house to a one bedroom condo, you will need to help them decide what will fit and how much can be kept. Again, work with the floor plan to create as close as possible the layout they enjoyed in their home.

May wanted her favourite chair, side table and floor lamp. In addition, there was also room for her magazine rack where she kept her current reading materials. As the items were packed all the papers, pens and other personal items were placed into the box. The movers were instructed where to place each piece of furniture.

All items that were on the side table were placed exactly as a they were in old house along with her remote control.

5. Start small. Take a day to spend with your parents to talk about the move and what to expect. Give them small tasks to do such as going through a desk drawer or a box from the attic. Ask them to spend only 15 to 20 minutes a day on one task. Let them decide what they’d like to do and what they might find hard to do. As a result, taking small steps will help your parents get used to the idea of moving.

Items from May’s hutch were placed on her dining room table. Some items were easily identified and packed for give away, sale or keep. Those that she needed to think on were left overnight. She sat and reflected on what she would like to do with each piece. Upon our return each item was packed according to her wishes.

Read Part Two Now


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