Moving at any age is stressful, but for older adults it can be especially challenging and emotional. Often older adults that are moving, whether to live closer to family, to downsize or to a retirement home, are leaving places they spent years. After parents make the decision to move, adult children can help reduce the stress by helping with the move. If the move is not unexpected start preparing at least six weeks in advance, but even if the move is not expected there are several things adult children can do to help organize a parent’s move.
Help Them Engage With Their New Home: Even if parents are just moving a few blocks away they are still moving to a new place. If they are moving to a new community, subscribe them to a local newspaper. If possible, take parents to their new home several times before they move. Let them look at the new space, walk around the new neighborhoods and stop by community resources such as local libraries to see what they offer.
Take Lots of Pictures: Take pictures of both a parent’s new space if possible and their current home. Taking detailed pictures of each space will help your parents make a floor plan, figure out what they can and cannot take and possibly make their new home resemble their old one if desired.
Create a Floor Plan: Use the pictures you took to create a mock floor plan either on a computer or with paper cut to size. Your parents can use the mock floor plan to try to figure out where to arrange things ahead of time which will make unpacking easier and again can help parents decide what to take and not take.
Pack Slowly: Pack as slowly as possible. Set aside a couple of hours at a time to sort items and pack items. It’s emotionally exhausting to make decisions over what is coming to the new place and what to do with everything else. Remember everyone has different priorities and what a parent may want to keep you might not. Start with a room with less sentimental value first.
Be Kind and Patient: Sorting, packing and moving is a big deal at any age. Be patient with your parents and be kind. Let them reminisce about how that spot is where their grandkids took their first steps.
In Order to Succeed is a full service professional organizing firm providing home and business organizing solutions, moving and relocation coordination assistance and time management help to people throughout New York and Connecticut.