When helping an elderly family member move, showing patience, love, and offering assistance can mean more than you realize. The process may take longer than usual and require additional steps and preparations.
If you are assisting a senior parent, relative, or friend with their move, here are seven important things to remember.
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1. Encourage When it’s Time to Downsize
Realizing that your current home may require too much upkeep can be a difficult reality to accept. This realization can be especially disheartening for older individuals who may feel like it was only yesterday when they were wanting more space and stepping on Legos. Now, the idea of walking from one end of the house to the other can be exhausting.
If your loved one is feeling overwhelmed in their large home or having trouble with stairs and care for the yard, consider moving before these issues worsen. This presents an opportunity for you to provide love and support during this difficult transition.
2. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
When helping an elderly parent, relative, or friend adjust to a significant change, it’s important to make them feel in control. It can be difficult when they are no longer able to do as much as they once could, leading to feelings of sadness and apprehension. Ensure open communication with your loved one to understand their needs throughout the process. Offer them choices and involve them in decision-making to help them navigate their new normal. Remember, communication is key.
3. Make a Plan
Before starting the process of sorting, organizing, and moving, it is crucial to create a plan with your loved one. This will give you a better understanding of the tasks involved and what needs to be accomplished. You should consider which rooms need to be furnished and the size of the new residence. A helpful tip is to sketch out a floor plan and use paper cutouts to represent furniture. Being organized and staying on top of tasks is essential for a smooth moving process. Remember, planning is key!
4. Organize Belongings
Organizing your belongings before moving is essential. Instead of hastily packing everything, take the time to sort through your items and decide what to keep and what to discard. This will make unpacking much easier later on. It’s best to start this process as early as possible to avoid feeling overwhelmed by years of accumulated possessions.
To reduce stress and anxiety, it’s helpful to make a daily task list and take things one day at a time. While it might be hard to let go of some things, downsizing means you can’t bring everything with you. Consider purging, donating, decluttering, and getting rid of unnecessary items to feel better afterward.
5. Enlist Family
If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask your family or close ones. Seeking assistance can be daunting, but people are generally willing to lend a hand. Collaborating with others can help you get the job done faster and bring comfort to your senior parent or relative during this transitional period. In addition, consider reaching out to your church or community group for support. People are often more generous than we might think.
6. Embrace Your Emotions
Moving to a new place can be overwhelming. It’s important to acknowledge these feelings and let your loved one know that it’s normal to feel this way. Change is tough, but it can also be beneficial. Encourage them to view this move as a chance for a new beginning and an opportunity to create something unique. Assure them that their emotions are valid and that they have your support.
7. Settle into the New Home
Assist your loved one in personalizing their new dwelling by adding family pictures and displaying their preferred home decor. This will help them feel more comfortable and at ease. Allow them to relax and adjust to their new surroundings. Organizing a housewarming party or a small gathering with family can be a welcoming gesture. Afterward, take a stroll with them to meet their neighbors and explore the new town. The moving process is complete, so it’s time to enjoy the exciting part.
Moving with an elderly parent or relative can be challenging in many ways – physically, mentally, and emotionally. However, it helps to concentrate on the positive aspects and express love as much as possible.