For an older person having to leave a long-familiar place, the mental burden of a move can be difficult. But the physical move itself, without help, is impossible. So no matter the reason for the move—choice or necessity—as you relocate the elderly, physical assistance is primary. And it’s a group project, if not through the help of a professional moving service, then with family and friends.
Besides movers, you have to downsize, efficiently pack, and rent storage. In each case, planning matters, and the earlier it begins, the better. The next time you help a senior friend or family member, these tips can help.
A move is tedious work, and so is planning one. Besides medical equipment and first-string necessities, most seniors have a lifetime accumulation of books, jewelry, photographs, and personal belongings. To keep track of the “small-but-significant” requires a detailed moving checklist, and along with that list, a budget. With those in hand, you can interview moving companies or begin to line up friends and relatives to do the work to downsize, pack, and schedule all it takes to close one home and open another.
You can’t take it with you when you die, and you can’t take it ALL with you when you move. The items we humans collect over the years are barnacled with the sentiments we attach to them, but it’s not impossible to let some go. With the right approach–“I can love that person and not keep this knickknack”—the process can in fact be cathartic. Allow your senior to decide what gives him or her joy to keep, and what feels good to give away.
The emotional journey of moving a senior into assisted living or a nursing home is made easier by keeping the move smooth. That involves conversations and listening, offering to help in packing and moving, meeting the people in your senior’s new surroundings, and calling or visiting often.
Because the physical limitations of seniors make packing difficult, instead of using friends and family, you do best to hire professional packers and movers. Correct packing reduces the risk of injury, for one thing, and takes less time. Correct labeling of boxes ensures easy unpacking later. Professional packers know the tricks. For instance, important items needed immediately upon arrival in the new location enter the moving truck last. (“LIFO” Method: Last in First Out.) Some items are required immediately, and many aren’t – yet the seniors aren’t ready to part with them. The solution is storage, which comes in many sizes and can accommodate any amount of “stuff.” Storage solutions also come with security features.
For adult children of seniors in the busiest parts of their own lives—who would rather tend to their parents than to the packing—a moving company is a godsend. Note that in Texas and across the United States, many moving companies offer special discount for veterans.
Moving is emotionally challenging for anyone. For seniors, it’s naturally hard to part with a place that has been home for so many years. And new surroundings take time to get used to. Help the seniors in your life feel positive. Help show how the move makes them safer and more accessible. For the arrival, pack an overnight case for his or her immediate needs: clothes, medication, toiletries, charging cords, etc.
Unpacking comes with its own set of potential accidents. Unbox slowly and systematically to prevent physical exhaustion. To prevent tripping and wheelchair obstructions, as you unpack a box, keep paths clear through the room. And don’t leave too soon. Stay and help organize the space.
AB Moving is a top-rated professional Texas mover, with a wide array of moving services to seniors/ veterans, residents and businesses across North Texas and beyond. Whether you plan to move eventually—or next week–give us a call. Or drop an email. Get a free moving quote today.