Once your loved one has found the perfect senior assisted living residence, the next step is to plan for the move. Moving is challenging and stressful at any age, but for seniors and their loved ones, it can be a very emotional journey with some logistical challenges as well. Extra care needs to be put into planning this transition to minimize stress for everyone involved.
Read on for tips for planning and streamlining your senior loved one’s move.
1. Plan Ahead
Plan ahead to decrease stress for everyone involved in this transition. As soon as you establish a move-in date, create a calendar and to-do list with tasks and goals, complete with deadlines. Involve your senior loved one as much as possible so that they feel a sense of control. Once your checklist is in hand, assign tasks and start addressing items on the list.
2. Start Downsizing
Downsizing can be a difficult part of the process, especially when your loved one is moving into an assisted living residence, which often consists of smaller living units like studio apartments or shared bedrooms. This reduces space for furniture, décor and appliances. It’s important to make this process collaborative so that your loved one feels they have input in these important decisions.
Go room by room to assess what can be taken and which items should be discarded, given away or donated. Start with the largest items in the most used part of the home, since these will be the most important to your senior loved one and probably take up the most space.
Some items to address include:
What will fit into the new living quarters? Which items does the facility provide, such as chairs or appliances?
A memory care support facility will often have limited floor space. Review floor plans to see if there is room for rugs and use dimensions to see what will or will not fit.
There may be very little room for knickknacks, so have your senior loved one identify their favorites and ask them to let the others go.
Help your senior identify clothing they don’t use anymore and give it away. Also review any items there are duplicates of and get rid of the unnecessary extras
Once your loved one has downsized their possessions, you can schedule your moving crew and start packing. If you choose to hire a moving company, search for one with experience working with seniors. Start as soon as possible to eliminate any stress that would be associated with rushing to meet a deadline—and so that your loved one can take their time and make decisions they’re happy with. Clearly label all boxes with their contents and prioritize the important items that should be unloaded first.
4. Make an Essentials Bag
It may take several days to unpack and organize, which can make it difficult for your senior loved one to find items they may need right away. Fill a bag with essentials, such as toiletries, medication, pillows, undergarments, and clothes. You may also want to include books or items related to hobbies, like puzzles or card games. This will help them feel comfortable and allow them to take breaks once they arrive in their new abode. Take this bag with you in the car rather than in a moving truck so that they have easy access to these essentials as soon as they arrive.
It’s important to create a positive experience for your senior loved one upon arrival to their new home. Take some steps to make them feel welcome, such as hanging a “Welcome” banner and having fresh flowers in their room. Find some photos that are important to them and have them framed and already displayed when they walk in. Plan to spend several hours to help them unpack when they first arrive. If you can, stay and have dinner or even order a special meal together on move-in day. This will create a meaningful memory of their first night in their new home.
Following these steps will help make the transition to memory care support or a senior assisted living residence go as smoothly as possible and make it a positive experience.