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When you’ve made it this far in life, you know how much hard work it takes to overcome some obstacles. Moving to a new home at an advanced age is one such hurdle. Even before the professional movers get there, there are some helpful tips that can streamline the moving process and make it as low-stress as possible.

Understanding the Unique Challenges Faced by Seniors During a Move

Moving presents physical and emotional challenges to everyone, and that’s especially true as we age. Uprooting your life and moving, even if it’s just across town, asks a lot of even the most well-adjusted seniors.

When it’s tough to simply get around the house, lifting boxes and furniture can be out of the question. A trustworthy professional moving company helps, but the right awareness, planning, and execution make everything easier for everyone.

Plus, the emotional toll of leaving behind a place filled with memories is as hard as physically moving. Whether a senior plans to relocate to a family member’s home or a senior living community, adjustment can be challenging for older adults moving into an entirely new space.

Tips and Tricks to Prepare for a Senior Move 

Make a moving checklist

Your moving checklist starts as much as 8 weeks out from the actual move date. Giving plenty of time helps keep stress levels low and organization on point. Separating everything into clearly defined steps and timelines can make this major life event a lot less stressful. 

Diagram your new floor plan

Before packing anything, get a solid idea of what your new space looks like. Most senior moves involve downsizing to a smaller space, so make a clear diagram of what’s where in the new home. Once you know what there will and won’t be room for, it’s time for decluttering.

Decide what you don’t need

It can be hard to part ways with belongings, especially when they’re tied to years of memories. Give yourself plenty of time for this difficult part. And while getting rid of old possessions can help declutter your mind, make sure to hold onto some things that have meaning. This helps keep a sense of familiarity in a new and scary situation.

At the same time, know when to get rid of something. Old hobby equipment, unused kitchen tools, boxes of decades-old papers, and torn or worn-out clothing are all prime candidates for decluttering.

Get all the paperwork in order

Some paperwork is pretty simple, like change of address forms for the postal service and bank accounts. Official documents are even more important, including trusts, wills, birth certificates, tax statements, and other critical paperwork. Also, take pictures or videos of anything expensive or high in sentimental value, in case of damage or loss during transit.

Use a clear organizational system

Combined with a floor plan and fewer belongings, a few colored stickers go a long way toward streamlining the packing, unpacking, and adjustment processes. Things like toiletries and heirlooms, for example, are both important to hold onto, but one’s a much more immediately pressing need.

Start with the big stuff

Sitting in a home full of furniture and deciding what to do with it is especially daunting for seniors. Start by deciding what will fit in the new floor plan, and plan to get rid of what won’t. Getting the big and heavy possessions out of the way first makes the whole process easier to grasp.

Set aside some everyday essentials

Before packing, put together a suitcase with the items that you might need during the move, including important clothing, medicines, medical devices, and documents. This way, you’ll avoid the headache of having to rifle through partially packed boxes or climb through a loaded moving truck.

Consider a senior move manager

The National Association of Senior Move Managers certifies individuals with expert knowledge to help with every step of the moving process. This includes setting up the packing and transport, ensuring documents are updated and arrangements made, planning the disposal or donation of unwanted items, and even escorting seniors to their new home and preparing the old one for sale.

Is Moving Stressful for Seniors? 

Moving can be even more stressful for seniors than anyone. After all, they’ve spent years making memories in their home and community, raising children, enjoying life’s milestones, and overcoming life’s hardships. It’s understandable that moving house as a senior represents a major life event.

Proper planning helps avoid relocation stress syndrome that comes from the physical, mental, and emotional stresses of moving. Getting help from family members, senior move managers, and assisted living teams goes a long way in smoothing it out for everyone.

What Are Some Senior-Friendly Moving Services to Consider? 

Packing services

Once you’ve downsized, the easiest choice is to hire a packing service. It might be a little awkward at first to have somebody else go through your things, but a good team of professionals will pack everything respectfully and efficiently. Plus, it saves you the time and nostalgia of packing up every single thing you own.

Full-service storage

Some things won’t make the move with you, but still need to be kept safe for a while. So if you’re still making arrangements to donate your antique dining room set, consider a comprehensive storage service. When you move to your new destination, your biggest and heaviest obstacles will head on their own, courtesy of skilled professionals.

White glove moving

If there’s too much to tackle on your own, let white glove or full-service movers guide you through every step. Large estates, extremely long distances, rare and expensive items, and any other prized possessions are tough for the average senior to manage during a move, but a white glove service covers it from start to finish.

Most such high-end services go over everything with you from a personalized moving plan all the way until we get rid of the packing materials, including detailed, custom packing and unpacking procedures.

Do Moving Companies Give Senior Discounts? 

Some do. Make sure to ask about AARP or other discounts when getting your quote. Many also offer seasonal deals and military discounts.

What Safety Precautions Should Seniors Take During the Moving Process? 

Safety precautions keep our loved ones out of major accidents, but they also offer the rest of family and friends peace of mind. 

  • A personal emergency response system or medical response system can help avoid the biggest disasters by keeping your loved ones connected.

  • Shelving and storage that’s easy to reach helps a senior stay self-sufficient in everyday life and feel better about themselves.

  • A home security system with door sensors helps keep track of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients without being too invasive. 

  • Handrails, rugs, and nonslip mats on slick surfaces like kitchen floors can keep seniors active and reliant on their own faculties.

  • Senior move managers and assisted living caregivers can closely help the most physically limited seniors with respect and compassion.

How Can Seniors Cope with The Emotional Aspects of Leaving Their Home?

Be patient. Adapting to a new living situation takes time. Things won’t always go perfectly, and there will be setbacks. Help relocating seniors reestablish a routine, and avoid adding too many new experiences to their life at once; moving is a big enough change on its own.

Keeping memories alive can also help ease the transition. Old photo albums, especially with pictures (and even video) of an old living space helps seniors hold onto the joy and satisfaction of a life well-lived.

During and after the move, work with assisted living, retirement, or care facilities to slowly build new friendships and community. Make sure there are at least some familiar belongings and activities in the new space, to help the newly relocated stay grounded and connected with their life. With care and compassion, you can help your loved ones ease into a new situation with all the self-worth they deserve.

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