Helping an Aging Parent Manage Move Anxiety: 9 Tips for a Smooth Move
Moving is stressful at any age but especially so for older adults. A senior’s home is often a place they have lived in for many decades. It may be full of memories of a spouse who has passed away and of raising children. To help an aging parent or loved one make a smooth transition to their new retirement community or senior housing apartment, we have pulled together some advice from the experts in senior moves. We hope they will help you manage the anxiety and fear that often comes with moving later in life.
- Keep the senior involved. Whenever possible, involve your aging loved one in the process. Part of the anxiety that comes from moving when you are older is caused by feeling as if you are no longer in control of your life. Asking your senior family member to make decisions and giving them tasks to do will help empower them and make them still feel like they have a voice.
- Ease in to the idea of a move. While you may feel it is best to get the move over quickly, allowing your senior loved one time to mentally adjust to the idea of moving will make for a smoother transition. Unless the move is a result of a medical crisis or other emergency, plan ahead and give them time to accept this big change.
- Use professionals whenever possible. Find and hire movers and real estate professionals who are accustomed to working with seniors. They will be more in tune with the unique needs older adults have when they are selling their home and relocating.
- Start with the easy tasks. When you are downsizing a senior loved one’s home for a move, start in the rooms they use least and with the possessions that don’t hold great sentimental value. Also have an idea about what will fit in the new home and what they might have to give up before you dig in. That will give you time to think about what family members and friends might be interested in some of the items that won’t work in your loved one’s new home.
- Create a video or scrapbook. One thing that might help your aging family member preserve their memories of “home” is to create a video and/or scrapbook of it. Before you begin packing and moving, take photos or make a video of their home and garden. It will give them a keepsake to treasure and help them know their memories are safe.
- Create a necessities suitcase. Put together a suitcase or box of your loved one’s “must have” items and things you will immediately need in the new home. It should include medications, medical equipment, toilet paper, coffee pot and supplies, paper towels and more.
- Get plenty of rest. Recognize that no matter how well you plan, things go wrong. Add to that the emotional stress a move creates for seniors. Getting a good night’s sleep the night before the move will keep nerves under control and help everyone better cope with the stress of moving day.
- Remember the basics on moving day. In the hustle and bustle of moving day, don’t forget to make sure your loved one takes their medications on time and that they eat as healthy as possible. This is especially true for older adults with diabetes or problems with blood sugar.
- Be patient. Our final piece of advice is to be patient with your loved one and with yourself. Moving is mentally and physically exhausting. Try not to sweat the small stuff.