Tips on Helping Seniors Move
Just as each individual's wants and needs are different when moving, so too are the wants and needs of certain age groups, in particular, those of our senior citizens. For seniors, there are a whole host of issues to consider when planning a move that most of us don't even think about. For instance, having access to health care is the number one priority. Will they be driving themselves, or is there a friend or family member who will transport them? What about general all-around mobility -- getting to the grocery store, shopping, and recreation? Will they be able to manage this on their own?
There are many reasons why seniors consider moving; retirement, health issues, a desire to live in a warmer climate, wanting to be closer to family, etc. Regardless of the reason, if you're in the position of helping older adults move, here are some tips that will make the situation easier all around:
1. Have patience -- Remember that the elderly are naturally reticent about making any changes, so they may be having trouble coping with the reality of the move. Also don't forget that with age comes a slowing down of the body, and so they may not be able to do everything they once could, and may be slower and less effective when they do attempt to accomplish something.
2. Help with the sorting -- While some older adults succumb to the temptation of hoarding, most are ordinary keepers who simply save things they don't need and never use. Don't go charging in insisting they throw away or donate items. Rather, take a milder approach and merely suggest that they might like to lighten their travel load by getting rid of some things they don't really need anymore. Assure them that you won't be tossing out these items, but donating them, so that they have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that someone else will be making use of their possessions.
3. Take pictures of the inside of their old home -- This way you can try to arrange things in a similar manner in their new home. By doing this you will greatly ease the stress of moving by making their new place feel as warm and comfortable as the old one.
4. Obtain a layout of their new home -- Before they move, find out exactly how much space the new house has. If the place is a great deal smaller than their old house, then they will have to decide, with a little helpful prodding, what to keep and what to donate or get rid of.
5. Start packing in a room that has little, if any, sentimental value -- For older adults moving is especially difficult because they've had years to build up memories in a house. It really is like leaving a big part of themselves behind, so don't expect them to just pull up stakes and go.
Once it is time to begin packing up for the move, don't immediately begin with the largest rooms in the house, or the smallest. Assign the person or couple you are dealing with a room to work in that doesn't have as much emotional attachment as say the living room or dining room, or a bedroom. The kitchen, back room, or bathroom are excellent places to start.
6. Plan well in advance -- Once it has been determined that there will indeed be a move, start making plans for it well ahead of time. You don't want to make seniors feel rushed. This only causes anxiety and confusion. By giving them extra time, you allow them to process the idea of moving and all it involves without feeling pressured.
7. Keep seniors involved -- Don't try to take over and do everything yourself simply because you are younger and more energetic. Everyone needs to be involved when they are planning a move, so do all you can to make them active participants in the move.
If you follow the above-mentioned suggestions, it should help to guide you and the seniors you are helping to an efficient and even an enjoyable move.