Moving can be a daunting experience for anyone, but it can be especially challenging for the elderly.
Not only do they have to deal with the physical aspects of the move, but they also have to contend with the emotional toll of leaving behind a home full of memories.
In this guide, we will provide tips and advice on how to help the elderly move, making the transition as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Stresses of Moving
Moving can be a stressful and exhausting experience for anyone, but it can be especially challenging for the elderly.
Moving to a new home can disrupt their routine, cause anxiety and confusion, and trigger feelings of loss and nostalgia.
Furthermore, the physical demands of moving, such as lifting heavy boxes and furniture, can be risky for seniors especially those with mobility or health issues.
That is why it is crucial to provide proper support and assistance when helping the elderly move.
With careful planning and patience, you can make the transition as smooth and comfortable as possible, ensuring that your loved ones feel safe, secure, and happy in their new home.
Preparing for the Move
Before the move, it is essential to prepare both emotionally and physically.
Here are some top tips to help your loved ones get ready for the big day.
One of the biggest challenges of moving is deciding what to keep and what to let go.
This is especially true for seniors who may have accumulated a lifetime of possessions and sentimental belongings.
To avoid unnecessary stress as well as expenses, encourage your loved ones to de-clutter their home before the move.
Start by creating a plan and a timeline for sorting through their items.
Offer to help them organise their items into three sections: keep, donate, and discard.
Be patient and understanding, and allow them to reminisce about their memories and stories associated with their belongings.
This can be a stressful exercise so catering to their needs is essential!
Sorting and Packing
Once you have identified which items to keep, it is time to start packing them.
Make sure you have plenty of packing materials, such as boxes, bubble wrap, tape, and labels.
Label each box with its contents and the destination room, making it easier to unpack and arrange later.
To avoid injuries, use proper lifting techniques, and avoid overpacking boxes.
Whilst they may be eager to help, it is always a good idea to help them avoid any heavy lifting!
For fragile or valuable items, wrap them securely and transport them separately, if possible.
Lastly, keep important documents, medication, and other essentials in a separate, easily accessible bag or box.
This is particularly important when moving with the elderly, as they will likely need to access their medication.
Finding a Suitable Home
If your loved ones are moving to a new home, it is crucial to find a suitable place that meets their needs and preferences.
Consider factors such as location, accessibility, safety, amenities, and social activities.
Research different options, and involve your loved ones in the decision-making process.
If possible, visit the new home before the move, and take measurements and photos to plan the layout and furniture placement.
This will not only give them a good idea of what to expect but will also take the burden off of them when the move day arrives.
Hiring Professional Movers
While you may be tempted to save money by doing the move yourself, it is usually safer and more convenient to hire professional movers, especially when it comes to helping the elderly move.
Here are some things to consider when choosing a removals company:
Finding a Reliable Moving Company
Finding a reliable removal company is a key consideration.
Do your research and check reviews and ratings from past customers.
Look for movers who have experience working with seniors and have a good reputation for professionalism, punctuality, and transparency.
It would be a good idea to consider removal companies that are members of the British Association of Removers (BAR).
These companies have to adhere to a strict code designed to uphold the best possible service for customers.
Be sure to find out if your chosen company are BAR members.
Packing and Unpacking Services
Many moving companies offer packing and unpacking services, which can save you time and effort.
Consider hiring a company that can handle the heavy lifting and packing of fragile items, such as electronics, artwork, and antiques.
This will help to reduce the amount of heaving lifting associated with the move, an essential consideration when helping the elderly move house.
Make sure the moving company provides insurance coverage for any damages or losses that may occur during the move.
Ask about their liability policies, and read the small print carefully before signing any contracts.
On moving day, it’s essential to stay organised, communicate clearly, and prioritise safety and comfort.
Here are some tips to make the day go smoothly when assisting the elderly move:
Communication and Coordination
Assign specific roles and responsibilities to each person involved in the move, such as packing, loading, and driving.
Use clear and concise instructions, and keep everyone informed about the schedule and any changes or delays.
Make sure the pathway and the entry and exit points are clear of obstacles and tripping hazards.
Use proper lifting techniques, and use the appropriate equipment.
Take frequent breaks and stay hydrated.
Be sure to keep track of what is going on throughout the day and attempt to help your loved ones both physically and emotionally.
Moving day can be stressful, especially for the elderly, so ensure they are comfortable to avoid any incidents.
Accommodating Special Needs
If your loved ones have any special needs or disabilities, make sure to accommodate them during the move.
This may include arranging for transportation, hiring a caregiver, or installing assistive devices, such as ramps, handrails, and grab bars.
Making sure everything is in order is a key consideration when helping the elderly move.
Take every precaution to ensure this is all arranged.
Settling into the New Home
After the move, it’s time to unpack and settle into the new home.
Here are some tips to make the adjustment easier for the elderly:
Unpacking and Organising
When unpacking it is always advisable to start with the essentials, such as bedding, toiletries, and kitchen items.
Then, gradually unpack the rest of the boxes, room by room.
To reduce the stress of the move, try to recreate the familiar and comfortable atmosphere of their old home, using familiar decorations and furniture.
Adjusting to the New Environment
Encourage your loved ones to explore the new neighbourhood, meet new people, and participate in social activities.
Whilst this is not possible for everyone, it is an excellent way to adapt to the area for those who are capable.
Help them establish a routine and adapt to the new environment, such as finding new doctors, pharmacies, and shops.
Seeking Support and Social Connections
Moving can be lonely and isolating, especially for seniors who may have left behind their friends and social networks.
Where possible, encourage your loved ones to join clubs, groups, or volunteer organizations, or to use online resources to connect with others.
Moving can be a challenging and emotional experience, especially for seniors.
However, with proper planning, patience, and support, you can help your loved ones make a smooth transition to their new home.
Remember to de-clutter, pack, and sort carefully, hire reliable movers, prioritise safety and comfort on the moving day, and help your loved ones adjust and settle into their new environment as best as possible.