Often there comes a point in an older adult’s life when it is no longer safe to live alone. Family members consult, and it is determined that a move to a senior living facility or into a family member’s home is the best course of action.
Moving a senior citizen is usually much more of a team effort than a simple relocation. Many family members are involved, and the senior citizen themselves may be upset and unwilling to participate in the move.
This situation doesn’t need to be painful and difficult. There are steps family members can take to help make the move go smoothly:
Make sure to listen to the thoughts and feelings they are expressing during the move. Express sympathy at their feelings, and acknowledge how difficult this move is for them. If they insist on helping with part of the move, let them rather than brush them aside. Allow them to feel like a part of the process.
Set Aside Photos and Personal Objects
The first thing you are going to want to do when setting up the new home or room is put up as many familiar family photos and objects as possible. This will help put your parent or family member at ease much more quickly. Also, if there is a certain bowl or trinket that was always on the bedside table, make sure to have that in a box marked “open first” so you can immediately put it in its new home.
Going through boxes and finding a new home for their belongings may seem like a job better done quickly and methodically. But, remember you are not the one who is living in the new home. Your parent needs to know where everything is located more than you do. Go through the boxes together and let your parent decide where everything should live. It will not only give ownership to the new room, but will make settling in easier.
Only Bring What is Necessary
Often when moving a senior citizen, you are going from a full house or apartment to a much smaller apartment or room. Try to take as much familiar furniture and bedding with as possible, but also prepare your loved one to part with many cherished belongings. Allow them to choose whenever possible, but also let them say goodbye to possessions they’ve had for decades.
Allow the Memories
Moving is stressful, and it can often seem absolutely necessary to speed the process along to get it over with. However, for the person who is moving, they may need time to say goodbye. Let them linger over pictures found in an old desk drawer, or tell stories about a china pattern they inherited. Listen to their stories, as it will make the process of physically moving much easier.