Helping Seniors Cope with a Move

Jonathan Deesing, imove

Many seniors have lived in their home for decades. It’s a familiar place full of memories and objects that make them feel safe, comfortable, and secure. If it comes to the point where they have to move, this transition can be upsetting.

Whether they’re moving to be closer to family or because of a medical or financial reason, here are a few challenges your loved one might face and solutions to help them overcoming the struggle.

Conquer the fear of the unknown by encouraging questions

For many elderly people, the worst part of a move is the unknown. To help minimize anxiety, discuss their concerns on a regular basis. Encourage them to write down questions as they come to mind and help get them get answers. Schedule a few visits to their new living space and take pictures so they can easily recall what it looks like. Remember, any senior leaving their home will have a lot on their mind, so they may ask you the same question more than once or need you to clarify answers. Try to be patient as they work through this major life change. It takes time, but addressing your loved one’s questions well in advance of their move can help minimize misunderstandings that cause stress.

Use a timeline or senior move manager to get (and stay) organized

Organization can go a long way toward helping reduce the tension associated with moving. To stay on top of things, use a timeline that maps out the details of their move. In addition to tasks like cancelling utilities and putting their house up for sale, the timeline should include things to help them unwind, like a weekly lunch date with friends. Ask to share their timeline with you and check in on their progress every few weeks; another great option is a senior move manager. A timeline or senior move manager can reduce the odds that important tasks slip through the cracks or get put off until the last moment, both of which add undue anxiety.

Get pictures of the new floor plan to help establish what to take

Most seniors likely won’t be able to fit all their furniture and other items into their new home. This means they’ll have to make tough choices about what to take and what to leave behind. A floor plan and images of their new living arrangements can make the decision process less taxing. If they are moving into an apartment or assisted living facility, a property manager may be able to suggest what furniture will fit best in their new home. Seniors who have pictures of their new home can start imaging themselves living in the space. This can reduce apprehension about moving, and may even get them excited about the event.

Become involved in activities to make new friends

Moving often means leaving friends, which can be especially traumatic for folks who have enjoyed the same pals for years. It’s important to acknowledge your loved one’s sorrow, but be positive about meeting new people and trying new things. Be sure they have a calendar of scheduled activities and events before they move. When they visit the facility, try to arrange for them to be introduced to their neighbors or people who share their hobbies. These things will help them feel more optimistic about their move and meeting new people they can hang out with. Check out the local senior center to explore opportunities to meet new people, especially if they’re moving to a location that doesn’t offer organized activities.

These tips can help your loved one navigate the emotions of their move, which can go a long way toward making the transition a success. 

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