01 Jul Moving Tips for Older Adults
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No matter the age, moving is never easy. The entire process takes a
tremendous amount of planning, organizing, and hard work. A move can be even more challenging for older adults. Many seniors are already managing health issues, caring for an ill spouse, or worrying about having enough money to last the rest of their lives. And moving adds to the stress load.
In addition, where to move may not always be a clear cut answer. Do you move in with an adult child or to assisted living? Should you downsize to a smaller home and hire assistance, if needed in the future? Do you stay in your current location, where there are many friends and familiar places, or move to another area to be near family?
Tips for a Successful Move
Making the decision to move. Most older adults want to stay in their own homes as they age. In fact, according to a 2012 survey conducted by AARP, about 90% of seniors planned to stay in their current homes for the next several years. While most people prefer to age in place, seniors eventually decide to move from their homes for many reasons. These include: no longer able or wanting to keep up with the repairs and maintenance; not feeling safe because of stairs or other fall hazards in the home; and the desire to live closer to family. From our experience, we suggest moving before you are forced leave your home due to a health emergency. It is better to be proactive than reactive in this situation.
Where to move. We help many clients who are moving to be near their families. Usually this works out positively for everyone involved. However, occasionally a parent will move back. Seniors realize long-term friends take on a bigger role in their overall happiness and socialization. Some seniors report to us that once they moved to be near family they felt isolated and alone because families were busy in their daily lives. If you want to make a move to a different area, try out the experience first. Stay with family (or better yet rent a short-term room/apartment) for a several weeks. Get involved in activities, drive around the area, visit shops, and attend a worship service. This time will give you the opportunity to evaluate what a new life in a different location will look like and how you fit into the everyday and established lives of your family.
Create a sorting system. Before moving, sort through all your belongings. Label three individual bags or boxes with signs that read, KEEP, TOSS, and DONATE/SELL. Call antique and consignment boutiques in your area or sell goods online through a social media platform such as Facebook Marketplace. However, always exercise caution. Security experts advise to meet someone during the day in a public place where you feel comfortable or in front of the local police station. Generally speaking, it is best to avoid having a stranger come to you home.
Seek professional assistance. There are businesses who specialize in helping seniors with all aspects of downsizing. Senior Move Managers are professionals that assist older adults and their families with the emotional and physical aspects of relocation and/or aging in place. According to the National Association of Senior Move Managers these professionals can: develop an overall move or age in place plan; help to organize, sort, and downsize; arrange to disperse items through auction, estate sale, buy-out, or consignment; arrange shipment and storage; supervise movers; unpack and set up your new home; and help with other related services such as cleaning, shopping, and preparing a home for sale. Click on the link below to find a Senior Move Manager in your area.