Moving can be an overwhelming process, which is why it’s important for our loved ones to rally around us when we’re about to move into a new home. If a senior citizen in your life is about to make the move to a new home, it’s important that you lend as much help and support as you can. Whether your loved one is downsizing, relocating to be closer to family, or moving into a more senior-friendly home with only one level, the process is a lot for one person to deal with alone.
Here are some tips on how you can best provide help and support to a senior in your life that is moving into a new home.
Keep Them Involved
You may be making a majority of the decisions for the senior citizen in your life when it comes time for him or her to move to a new place, but make sure you involve them in the process. Well-meaning family members often take on a majority of the moving decision making, so as to remove the burden from their loved one – but that can cause the senior to feel out of control of the situation.
How would you feel if someone came to your house one day and said you had to move, without letting you decide what neighborhood you were moving to or what your home looked like? Even if a senior is limited physically or mentally, it’s important to ask for their input throughout the process.
- What type of home do they want to move into? Which things on the wish list are must-haves, and which are negotiable? What about neighborhood? Is proximity to the grocery store or to family members more important?
Have an open line of communication both before and during the moving process. Keeping the senior involved in the decision-making will ensure a more stress-free process.
Prevent Relocation Stress Syndrome
, many seniors suffer from relocation stress syndrome (RSS) before, during or after a move. RSS is a form of physiological and psychological trauma or disturbance that occurs as a result of a person moving from one environment to a completely new one.
Symptoms include sleep disturbance, exhaustion, anxiety, depression and disorientation. If the person has mild cognitive issues, like dementia, these symptoms may be worse. Confusion, sleep deprivation and depression can cause increased likelihood of falls or injury, weight loss and other self-care deficits.
- Preventing RSS is important for the safety and well-being of your loved one. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to try to prevent this syndrome from occurring.
Involving the person in the decisions, like we mentioned above, is a good place to start. Provide plenty of opportunities for the senior to ask questions, express concerns, and maintain control. Pay attention to personal items that are important to the senior, and make sure that they are carefully relocated.
Once you make the move, arrange the furniture and the items in the kitchen so that they resemble the senior’s old home. And, make sure that you spend some time helping your loved one get acclimated to the new space. Show them how the light switches work, how the door needs to be locked, the dishwasher settings, etc.
Taking extra care to make sure your loved one is comfortable can help to prevent RSS.
Spend Some Extra Time
As your loved one settles into the new space, it’s important to spend as much time with them as possible, to make sure that they feel comfortable with their new living arrangement. Make sure they are establishing a new routine, and help them do things like locate the nearest post office and grocery store.
- It may seem trivial, but putting in those extra few hours will make a big difference when it comes to their comfort level in their new home and neighborhood. Plus, as you might know from moving into your own new place, making memories with your friends and family in your new house is what helps to eventually make it feel like home.
As we’ve mentioned above, moving can be stressful for a senior citizen—for anyone, really. That’s why it’s so important to stay organized throughout the process. Make sure you keep a checklist of things you need to take care of for your loved one before the move. If the senior citizen in question is adept at making and keeping lists, let him or her manage this part of the move. Use labels when you start packing, because everyone, especially our older family members and friends, is liable to forget where a certain item was packed.
- Make sure that important things like the coffee pot, cereal bowls, bedding and pillows, are packed in easy-to-reach boxes that can be unpacked right away, as soon as the movers drive away.
Following these few guidelines can help to ease a senior citizen’s mind when it comes to the stress of moving. Another part of the equation is hiring a professional and experienced moving company.
When you’re ready to book the move, give Highland Van & storage a call at 604-581-2300. Click here for more info on our services, or to request a quote right from our website.