We all hope that by the time we reach our golden years we will have found a forever home. But if you find yourself in the position of helping your senior parents move into a new home, whether to be closer to you or to receive support with daily living, there are some important factors to consider. Keep everyone happy and more comfortable during the transition by taking these tips for moving your aging parents to heart.
Communication is crucial
Make sure your parents feel included in the process of moving to a new home. Especially if they’ve lived in their current house for a long time, the prospect of relocating may feel daunting and sad. Communicate openly with them about the decision to move, why it is important, what positive aspects will come from moving, and how you will help ensure the move goes as smoothly as possible. For seniors, to move from their longtime home can be a source of distress as they fear losing the comfort and familiarity of home. Create plenty of time to answer questions that may arise, and involve your parents fully in choosing a new place to live. If possible, bring them to visit their new home and give them a chance to familiarize themselves before the transition.
Plan out their new home
Again, the unknown of relocating to a new home can be a significant stressor. Whether or not your parents are particularly concerned about the aesthetic of their new home, take the time to plan the layout of the space, what furniture they will want and need, and where it will all be placed. Choose furniture that is important to them — a favorite chair, an heirloom hutch, etc. — and locate them prominently in the new space. Having familiar and comfortable things around helps ease the transition and make things feel a bit more homey right off the bat.
Surround your parents with support
Having a few extra helping hands for the move is helpful on a practical level, but it’s also an extra dose of emotional support for everyone involved. Invite other relatives to participate in the move, whether it’s actually lifting boxes or preparing a meal for everyone once you’ve arrived in the new space. Particularly if your parents are moving into an assisted living home, everyone may need some extra support in this lifestyle transition. Make sure your parents feel loved and supported.
Help your parents to downsize
Chances are after 50+ years of life, your parents have accumulated a lot of stuff that they don’t necessarily need to take to their new home. To make the move a lot easier, start the decluttering process well in advance. Consider donating furniture that you won’t be taking with you to a local charity that offers pickup service, and reassure your parents that you will arrange a storage unit for things that they don’t want to part with, but can’t take to their new home. As you move things into storage, do consider that you will have to find a place for all of these things eventually!
Make arrangements for their needs ahead of time
If you don’t live nearby, take the time to make arrangements for logistics ahead of time: who will transport them to appointments if they don’t drive anymore? Are there relatives nearby to check in? Do they need to find a new doctor or other care specialists? Doing this research well in advance will help ensure a smooth transition in lifestyle, and prevent any unnecessary hiccups along the way.
Hire a full-service mover
When you’re moving your elderly parents, the last thing you want to be worried about is carrying their sofa to the moving truck. Hire a professional company that will take care of all of the details so that you can focus on what matters most: making sure your parents are comfortable and taken care of. If at all possible, pack up the essentials and arrange to take your parents on a little vacation while their home is being packed up and moved. It’s a moment for you to spend quality time with them and will help to reduce the stress and chaos they have to experience in the transition.
There are a variety of reasons why people move to a new home. Whether your parents want to be closer to grandkids or need greater care as they age, these tips will help you make their move an easy one.