Moving can be challenging for anyone and especially difficult for seniors. However, there are ways to move older people with the least amount of stress and in a way that makes the transition smooth. Proper planning is essential and includes clear communication with the senior, an evaluation of how much of their current residence needs to be moved and how much space they’ll have in their new location. If the task seems too daunting for family members, there are companies who specialize in moving seniors and include services such as helping sort items, packing, unpacking and even transferring utility services. 

Planning Before Moving Day

It’s important to remember that moving can upset a senior’s daily routine, and the transition may signal they’re losing some of their independence. Difficult decisions are likely to arise, such as downsizing and letting go of precious keepsakes, which could make the process of packing an emotional challenge. Having a conversation about fears and concerns before you start packing can help lessen some of the challenges. 

Additionally, the logistics of moving need to be discussed ahead of time. Some of the considerations include:

  • All residential options and which fits the older adult the best
  • Location
  • The type of care they may need
  • The older adult’s lifestyle changes
  • Each person’s responsibilities for the move

Begin with the type of residence needed. Knowing the senior’s health status and level of self-care will help determine if they need independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing care, or whether they can live with a family member. A social worker can help evaluate the situation to determine the best choice. 

Based on the evaluation of the older adult’s capabilities, the services needed will vary.

  • Living with a family member: Any family member who chooses to offer their home for a living arrangement should consider their lifestyle, schedule and physical abilities to care for the parent or older family member. Part-time home care or respite services may be needed.
  • Moving back into a private home from a facility: In this case, services such as a home aide, home health care or meal delivery can ensure the older adult is monitored and cared for. An emergency call system is strongly recommended for seniors who remain in a private home.
  • Assisted or independent living community: For older adults who need help with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, toileting and transportation, assisted living may be a good choice. Transition services may be available to help with the move. 
  • Nursing home care: Seniors who need ongoing medical support by licensed nurses and 24-hour supervision may benefit from nursing home care.

Additional factors may depend on which family member the older adult needs to be located the closest to, whether any of the older adult’s friends are living nearby and what senior resources are available in the area. 

Managing the Move

Depending on available family and friends, determine everyone’s schedule for moving day and possibly a time before to help with packing. The closest family members may be the best to help the older adult decide what items and belongings to let go of and which to keep. Find out who can help with labeling boxes, disassembling furniture, supervising the moving company employees, and ensuring nothing gets left behind. 

Remember to have enough people at the new location to assist with staging the placement of the senior’s belongings and include the older adult in the move-in to be sure they’re happy with their new home.