Taking care of a senior loved one is a big responsibility. You have to respect their position as an elder and fight the urge to treat them like a child just because they need a little help now and then. It’s not always easy, and neither is change. Whether you’re moving your loved one into a senior care facility, a senior community or an assisted living residence, there’s a lot to consider. So when you decide that moving your senior loved one to a new home is the right thing to do, here are 8 things you need to know to make the transition as seamless as possible.
1. Open and Clear Communication
Keeping the lines of communication open is one of the more comforting things you can do during this transition. You need to be open to listening to what they have to say. By allowing them to share their thoughts and feelings you make them feel more included in the process and that you genuinely care about them. Be clear on what they want to keep and what they are open to getting rid of, but would rather not. Uprooting your elders and totally changing their environment without taking their feelings into consideration is a sure way to cause a rift tor to speed their decline.
2. Involve Them
This step is easy to overlook if your senior loved one has already started to decline. Going in and throwing things out, moving things around and telling them that it’s for their good, is not a good game plan. Allow them to help with sorting, packing, and planning. Listen to their suggestions and needs and work together. Unless your loved one is incapable of being involved in this transition, it’s best to include them in their own lives. If your loved one is incapable of living alone, read more here.
3. Organization is Key
Staying organized will help things to move smoothly. Have a timetable laid out and tackle one task at a time. If handling the packing yourselves is too much, do not hesitate to hire professional movers to free you up for other things, like preparing your loved one for the move or organizing the new finances. Decide whether or not you will need to use a storage facility if you’re going to have a yard sale or make a donation. And keep track of your to-do list in a notebook.
4. Clean It and Fix It
Whether the current home is being sold, rented or passed on to another family member, some sprucing up will be needed. Make sure that your to-do list includes the cleaning of the home as well as any necessary repairs or replacements. If you are planning on selling the current home, you definitely want to tone down the decor, declutter any crowded areas and replace any broken or outdated appliances. This will likely increase the home’s resale value and help with finances moving forward. Whoever will be coming into your loved one’s home will appreciate your extra effort.
5. Moving Day Plans
Make plans on how the actual date of the move is going to go. If you’re moving, make sure to include the truck pickup and drop off time and date, arrival time and what should be packed into the truck first.Be sure to have as many helpers as you need, and make sure they know what to expect and what you expect of them. Have meals and snack break planned, as well as plenty of water and any other moving supplies you may need (extra boxes, heavy duty gloves, packing tape, newspaper, garbage bags, etc.)
6. Get Help from Relatives
Taking care of the elderly is a group effort. If there are other relatives nearby that can help make the transition to a new home easier, get their help. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help when necessary. And even if you think you have everything under control, still enlist the help of relatives. The closer to moving day you get, the more stress you may feel, and having someone to help shoulder the responsibility can be just what you need to make it through. Sharing the responsibility will likely take some of the pressure off of everyone involved, as well as make the move go swiftly.
7. Plan Out Space
Usually moving a senior means downsizing.This can make the move even more stressful. Most of us don’t want to let go of our possessions, and our elders are no different. Be sure to take notice of the available storage space and the dimensions of rooms. This will help you decide what pieces of furniture can be kept and which will have to be sold, passed down, donated or discarded. You can make drawings of where larger or core items will be positioned. A good idea to help bring their former home into their new home is to arrange as many things as possible in the same way. One way to do this is to take pictures of the way things were to make the recreation true to life.
8. Start Early
Once the decision to move has been made, get started early. Procrastinating on the tasks associated with moving is a bad idea for anyone, and even more so for a senior. Our older loved ones have deeper roots and have collected far more memories and possessions than we have. Not to mention that age may have slowed them down a bit or there may be health concerns. It’s never too early to start downsizing to prepare for the big day. It may be helpful to start on areas that are particularly cluttered. Places like the attic, the basement, the garage, and closets. Kitchen cabinets and drawers are other small steps that can be taken early on.
Moving your elderly loved one into a new home presents its own challenges and triumphs. When everyone is prepared to do their part and be kind, patient and understanding to one another, the process can go pretty smoothly. Moving doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience for your loved one. Take whatever time is necessary to help ease your loved one into this new beginning.