NJ Senior Living
Moving is physically and emotionally difficult for anyone, particularly the elderly. Here are some things to consider when helping an elderly person move:
1. Be kind. When helping to sort and pack your elderly loved one’s possessions, keep in mind that their eyesight and an inability to do everything they used to do can result in poor housekeeping habits. Offer to clean as you pack and try not to criticize.
2. Help sort. Seniors tend to keep things they don’t necessarily need or will ever use. Be gentle when suggesting to get rid of possessions. Ask them if they use the item and if they would mind if you donate it. If it’s a treasure or something they would like to keep but the new space can’t accommodate it, suggest keeping it in the family by giving it to a child or grandchild.
3. Take pictures of the inside of their home. As close as possible, try to place objects in a similar way so that their new home will feel very much like the old one. Be as detailed as you can from arranging the bedroom furniture to placing the family pictures on the bureau. This will help make the new place feel like home.
4. Obtain a room layout of their new place. Find out before you move how much space the new place has. If your senior is moving from a three bedroom house to a one bedroom condo, then together you will need to decide what will fit and how much can be kept.
5. Start small. Take a day to spend with your senior to talk about the move and what to expect. Give them small tasks to do such as going through a desk drawer or a box from the attic. Ask them to spend only 15 to 20 minutes a day on one task. Let them decide what they would like to do and what they might find hard to do. Taking small steps will help your senior get used to the idea of moving.
6. Pick a room that has less sentimental attachment. Have your elderly loved one start sorting through the bathroom or kitchen drawers; pick a place in the house that doesn’t hold the same emotional attachment as the bedroom or living room or a photo box kept in the attic.
7. Plan the move. Allow enough time that your senior doesn’t feel rushed. Sorting through years of stuff is difficult and sometimes emotionally painful. Give them time to absorb the change.
8. Hire outside help. Sometimes it’s easier for your senior to work with an outside party rather than with members of their family. There are many companies that specialize in moving seniors.
9. Be patient. Allow your senior time to say goodbye. If they take longer to clean out the desk drawer because of a stack of pictures they found, let them take the time to remember. This is a very important part of the process. Be patient. Listen to their stories.
10. Get them involved. Take your senior to their new home ahead of the move on their own time and when they are ready. Let them tell you how they would like it to look and make a plan to prepare the space accordingly.
Posted by: Frank Esposito, Vice President of Expert Home Care. New Jersey’s Expert Home Care provides professional and reliable home health care and companion care for NJ elderly, helping them with their daily living activities since 1984. Please call us toll free at 800-848-2336 when you have home care related questions or need assistance for a loved one. Get a Free Home Care Assessment (a $375 value!) when you mention this post.