Moving homes can be of the most stressful things any of us have to face.
As we age, the old family home can become increasingly hard to manage, but this can be tough for the seniors in our lives to admit. If the time has come to start helping your elderly parents move and downsize, whether it be to somewhere less demanding to maintain or where they can receive any care they require, there are several things you can do to help ease the process.
Helping Elderly Parents Move Starts With A Conversation
One of the hardest things for parents to deal with is the apparent role reversal; when the time comes for their children to look after them. To put them at ease, it’s important to allow them an element of control. This can be achieved by giving them as much choice as possible. If they have a say in where they are going to relocate to, they can still maintain a sense of independence.
Take the time to talk to them and, more importantly, listen to their wants and needs. Downsizing is likely to cause much anxiety. Your parents will have grown into their home, and they’ll be surrounded by things that mirror their lives. The thought of having to say goodbye, not only to the house but also to any beloved ornaments, heirlooms, as well as pieces of furniture, can be heartbreaking. Because of this, helping elderly parents move means giving them time to grieve before accepting it’s time to move on. Allow them that tim.
Step One: Organize
Failing to plan is planning to fail. Once the new home has been decided on, it’s time to work out what needs to stay, and what needs to go. Helping your elderly parents move can be made a lot easier by careful planning!
This process can be made easier using graph paper. Plot the floorplan of the new property to scale and use it to work out what furniture will be needed. Take measurements of current furniture and see what will fit. You can even cut out the footprints of any piece to the same scale, so you can move them around on the plan while discussing it with your parents. This physical representation will help them visualize their new home and, again, allow them a sense of control.
Step Two: Keep, Donate, Store
When the time comes to part with possessions, it’s essential that your parents feel supported. They will have some tough decisions to make. This task can be overwhelming for seniors, so it’s crucial to enlist all the help you can. Surround your parents with people they trust; family members, friends, neighbors. Encourage them to categorize their possessions. Post-its and boxes at the ready! Find some simple ways to help them declutter, then go through the rest. Everything should fall into one of four categories:
- Store in a storage unit
Storage is a vital option, as there are likely to be many items that your parents simply aren’t ready to say goodbye to, but won’t fit in the new place. Having the choice of putting these items in a secure, clean storage unit will provide them with peace of mind. Once again, patience is key. Allow your parents the time to reminisce.
Preparing to Move
Once the house has been cleared, give it a good clean. Touch up any chipped paintwork and see to any repairs. Your parents will have been proud of their home, and they will want to leave it in good condition. When booking the moving day, there are options. Once again, it’s important that your parents are involved in this decision, and are aware of the plan every step of the way. This might mean that they want to meet any potential buyers or be kept in the loop as to their home’s status. Helping elderly parents move doesn’t mean doing it all yourself!
Full Moving Service
This is certainly the easiest option but can cost up to $7000 for a two bedroom property. However, with this expense comes peace of mind, particularly if they do have items going to a secure storage unit. Many removal companies offer secure storage as well so, by choosing one of these, there will be fewer people to deal with, making the whole process easier to coordinate.
Do it yourself
This is the cheapest option. However, before you choose this, think carefully about the physical work involved. Are you, your friends, and family equipped for all that lifting? If the answer is yes, ensure that you use sturdy packaging and have enough boxes, tape and bubble wrap. You’ll need to start early to ensure your parents have time to settle into their new home after you have unpacked at the destination. Although it’ll be hard work, this option can sometimes be easier for seniors, as they are likely to trust those they love to take proper care of their possessions.
From initially broaching the subject, to the moving day itself, the overriding objective is sensitivity. Helping elderly parents move will always be tough, but by respecting your parents’ grief, memories, and wishes, you can help make this time feel like more of a happy transition than a sad goodbye.