Moving house is an involved process for people of all ages, but for older people, it can be especially challenging. As a senior, you might be moving for any number of reasons, including downsizing and for a less expensive lifestyle. Whatever your reasons for the move, planning ahead is vital. Start out at least three months from your intended moving day, and be well-prepared for everything from decluttering to contacting removalists. Remember not to do it alone; don’t hesitate to ask friends and loved ones for assistance.
Here are some tips that can help you plan your move with ease, and they’ll also prove to be helpful if you’re helping an elderly relative with a stress-free move:
Create a checklist
Have a clear plan and checklist for your move. Early planning is key to minimising stress and ensuring you deal with everything you need to. For example, your checklist might look like the following:
- 3 months. Start exploring why you’re moving and researching properties at least three months from your move. Some seniors might move to downsize and to reduce their cost of living or to be closer to family. Whether you’re downsizing, moving to be closer to family, or for other reasons, be clear about your priorities so you can find a property that matches your goals.
- 2 months. Around eight weeks from your move, get a floor plan of your new residence so you can start working out where your furniture and items will go and what you might need to eliminate. Research moving companies and start decluttering.
- 1 month. One month out, book a moving company. Start packing your items, and contact utilities and other services to schedule cancellation. Notify banks and other providers of your new address. Book your flight or ride if you’re not driving.
- 2 weeks. Take photos of valuables and furniture to document in case you need to make an insurance claim with the removalist. Coordinate your timetable with loved ones if relevant. Fill any prescriptions.
- One week. One week out from your move, make sure you’re close to finishing packing everything. Pack your essentials box now, and plan your schedule and meals for moving day. Double-check your utilities at the new place are connected.
Don’t hesitate to enlist help where and when you need it. Along with a professional removalist, family and friends can help make your move less demanding.
Start decluttering your possessions as early as possible so you have time to make decisions about what to keep and discard. You might be selling, donating, or disposing of furniture, personal items, and heirlooms. It’s not always easy to decide what to give away, so keep a box for things you’re on the fence about so you can come back to them. For valuables, involve family members by finding out who’d like to have certain items. For things, you won’t be keeping, schedule a garage sale or enlist help from someone to pick up and help you donate them.
Pack one room at a time
Don’t overwhelm yourself by doing too much packing at once. Aim for one room at a time. If you’ve started early, you should have sufficient time to pack everything and have a few days or more to spare. Don’t forget to label your boxes according to the room it will be going to.
Essential items box
Unpacking can take days or even weeks. An essential items box ensures you’ll have everything you need on your first day and night at your new residence. Include clothing, socks, sheets, toiletries, toilet paper, and any medications. Dishes, utensils, soap, and clean towels are also essential. You’ll want to start adding to this box around one week out from moving day.
Where possible, start preparing your new place with any necessary modifications. As a senior, you can optimise your new home with features that support your mobility, independence, and safety. Ideally, you’ll have chosen your new house for its convenient location, minimal stairs, and modification-friendly spaces and rooms. Modifications to consider before moving in include ramps for entryways and exits, stairlifts, walk-in bathtubs, grab bars next to toilets and in showers and baths, and anti-scalding devices. You might also like to add things like anti-slip mats, personal emergency response systems, and accessible shelving.
Be emotionally prepared
Moving can be stressful for anyone, and it’s not uncommon for people to experience relocation stress syndrome. Pay attention to your mental and emotional health. You might feel attached to your current home and conflicted about the move. Simple strategies can help alleviate your stress. For example, rest well, practice relaxation techniques, and connect with your loved ones if you feel like you need someone to talk to.
Helping a senior move
If you’re a child or other relative helping a senior relative with moving, you’ll want to provide your loved one with well-considered assistance and give them plenty of room to make their own decisions. For example, be gentle when guiding them on tough decisions like what to keep and what to discard. Help them by finding a removalist with experience in senior relations. Assist them with settling into their new place. It might be necessary to help them find new healthcare providers in their new area before moving day, so they have a go-to doctor ready.
Moving can see you living in a safer, more suitable residence. It can ensure you’re closer to your loved ones and enjoy a more convenient location close to like-minded communities. However, the actual moving process can be demanding, so it’s important to plan ahead. Sorting through your personal items, ensuring your new home is ready for settling in, and getting help where you need it is essential. Starting as early as possible and working to a checklist or plan will also pave the way for a smoother move. Above all, remember to keep it all in perspective and manage your mental and emotional well-being throughout the process.
Jacqueline Coombe has been a prolific reader since childhood, and now channels her love of the written word into writing content on a range of topics from
business, marketing and finance to travel and lifestyle. Jacqueline is also a principal consultant specialising in search and content marketing at international digital marketing agency, Webprofits.
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