Considerations to Make When Moving a Senior 

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When assisting a senior in the moving process, you want to make sure the transition is as smooth and comfortable as possible. From packing to unpacking to choosing a new place, having a plan can make each step a little easier to manage. In the end, you can successfully move a senior into his or her new residence with minimal stress. 

Packing and Unpacking

There are ways to make packing and unpacking a little less hectic. For starters, pack an overnight bag. The likelihood of accomplishing a lot of unpacking the first day is slim, so ensure essentials are within easy access, including a change of clothes and toiletries. Many people also pack valuables in this bag.

Cardboard boxes are great for moving. These moving boxes are inexpensive yet sturdy. While packing everything in moving boxes is recommended, consider having a few clear totes for items that need to be unpacked quickly upon moving into the new home. The clear tote will stand out in the sea of brown boxes. Although most people instinctively label the top of the moving boxes, they usually get stacked on top of each other, making it hard to read the label. Instead, label the sides of the moving boxes with the room they go in, as well as their contents.

When packing toiletries, cover the tops with saran wrap, then reapply the lid to prevent leakage. For a free and environmentally friendly solution, use socks to pack glasses, and wrap fragile items in towels, blankets, and washcloths. Also, if you pack plates vertically like records, they’re less likely to break.

Keep in mind that everything may not fit into the new home, particularly if it’s a downsizing situation, so if you’re unable to get rid of all the excess ahead of the move, don’t forget to rent some storage space. Some providers will even pick up your items for you, which can reduce some of the stress of the move.

Looking for a New Place

When choosing a home to purchase, houses that are close to amenities are best. Think about how far away a doctor’s office, grocery store, or coffee shop would be from the home. If the senior can’t drive, look for a home that is close to public transportation. Many neighborhoods offer amenities for residents to stay active, such as a pool, fitness center, and paths for walking and biking.

Downsizing is a popular reason for moving as a senior. A smaller home means a lower mortgage, less energy consumption, and less maintenance. There is less square footage to clean and a smaller yard to manage. Some seniors move into neighborhoods that provide lawn care and/or home maintenance, while others opt for apartments, independent living facilities, or retirement communities.

Making the New Home Comfortable

Rearranging the new home to look similar to previous home can help with the emotional stress associated with moving. It’s also beneficial for those suffering from mobility issues or dementia. Before you begin packing, take photos of the inside of the home. Be as detailed as possible, noting where pictures were hung and trinkets were placed.

Obtain a floor plan of the new house, and plan ahead for how you can arrange the furniture. Your biggest goal is functionality, but try to match the previous layout as best as you can. This isn’t always simple when downsizing, but planning ahead makes it easier.

Even if the senior doesn’t currently have mobility issues, that can change over time. Home modifications can be made for comfort and safety. It’s easier to make the necessary modifications before the individual moves in. Many modifications are simple and inexpensive, but they can make a significant difference.

Making the New Home Safe

Simple home modifications include installing grab bars near the toilet and in the shower. Having adequate lighting is a must for seniors. Lever-style door handles make it easier to open doors, and C or D-shaped drawer and cabinet handles are ideal. If the shower doesn’t have a built-in seat, consider adding a framed shower chair.

If a new home is being built or making structural changes is possible, opt for doorways that are 36 inches wide for easier maneuverability from room to room. This wide is required for wheelchair access. Also, an ideal kitchen has countertops at a variety of levels so cooking and prepping can be performed while sitting or standing. A walk-in bathtub creates safety and comfort for bathing.

Ensuring the moving process is stress free is important. But you also want to ensure the new home fits the senior’s needs and wants. Creating a plan for each step in the process, even down to unpacking, allows you to rest assured knowing the person is safe, comfortable, and happy.

Author: Jim Vogel