Tips for Helping to Make Moving Easier for Seniors

Collaboration: Grandfather and grandson assembling furniture

Where others may see “trash,” elderly family members and friends may see “treasures.” As America ages, more and more of us are trying to help family and friends move to smaller homes or into independent living communities. Talking to seniors about downsizing and releasing decades of treasures is not easy.

Here are a few tips to help seniors downsize.
Don’t pack away your patience. “Patience is a virtue.” When helping seniors make a move, you will most likely need a lot of patience. Remember, often they are leaving homes they have lived in for decades, are dealing with physical or mental ailments, and are moving out of necessity rather than desire. Helping anyone through a difficult life change takes patience and compassion.

Avoid tackling the whole house at one time. It may be more efficient for you to go full steam ahead, but elderly family members may be stressed emotionally and physically. Think in terms of months rather than days for helping elderly family members move. Tackle one room at a time to make this easier on you and them!

Ask yes-or-no questions rather than open-ended questions. Open-ended questions are more stressful. Rather than asking, “Which pots or pans do you want?” present a manageable question such as, “I have your best frying pan, a large pot and a small sauce pot. Does this work?” This makes it easier for seniors to make a decision faster.

Use the new space as a guide. Find out how much closet and cabinet space there will be in the new home and fill that space only. How big are the rooms? Mark that information off on a diagram to see exactly what space you have to fill and use. There’s no reason to bring too much stuff.

Encourage giving a gift now. Urge your parent not to wait for the next holiday, birthday, or other milestone to bestow; remind him that there’s no space for storage. Ask, “Why not enjoy the feeling of giving right now?” (And if you’re the recipient — just take it, and encourage your relatives to do the same. You can donate the item later, if you don’t want it, but the immediate need is to empty your parent’s house.)

Target recipients and charities for specialty items. It’s time-consuming to find willing recipients for everything, but it may be worth the effort for items that your parent would be relieved to see in a good home. Examples: Schools may welcome musical instruments, old costumes. Auto repair shops and community maintenance departments may take tools and yard tools.

Call on the professionals. A fast-growing specialty, senior move managers specialize in helping older adults and are skilled at both the emotional and practical dimensions of late-life transitions. These experts can defuse a parent-child emotional clash, while handling everything from sorting and packing through hiring movers and unpacking in the new place.

Encourage seniors to focus on their most used items and let the rest go. What seems useless to you may be the most comforting item a senior has. The newest item isn’t necessarily the most favored item. Learn the story behind something…find out why the old plastic tumblers are preferred over new, sparkling glasses.

Aging is a fact of life. Taking a few steps at a time can help make any move easier.

Tips for Making Moving Less Stressful: The Art of Packing

happy female couple celebrating in new home

Moving is stressful, whether you are going across the country or across town. We want to help make moving a little bit easier by providing you with some helpful tips on a few things you can do to make your move easier and less stressful.

Make packing an art and a science! Here are some quick tips for ways to make packing a little easier.

Use strong boxes and secure them tightly. Your dishes and valuables deserve extra care, so use special boxes for kitchen, wardrobe and other special things. Avoid using boxes that have had food shipped in them.

If you still have your original boxes and packaging from your audio and visual equipment, repack those items snuggly in those boxes.

Put heavy items, like books, in smaller boxes to keep boxes from getting to difficult to carry.

Label all of your boxes! Include what is in each box and what room it goes into.

Do you have kids? Set aside some of their favorite items for moving day so you aren’t looking for these things and your kids have something to keep them from getting bored.

Consider making a Home Inventory Checklist.
This is an especially good idea if someone is packing and moving for you, or if it’s time for you to review your homeowners insurance policy or regroup on what you have. Your checklist should include all of your belongings and:

What the item is
Its estimated value
Its condition
What room it is in, in your home

Click here for more information on how to create a home moving checklist.