We all understand that the moving process can demand a lot of our time and energy. When it’s time for your aging parents to downsize their home, they need help and support in dealing with the transition. The emotional toll is particularly heavy if your parents are moving from the family home they have shared for decades, sometimes forty years or more.
Thankfully, there are ways to help smooth out the entire moving process, so that they can say goodbye to their old home and begin to form memories in a new home that is better suited and safer for their current lifestyle. Here’s how can you help your parents make a move successfully.
Although some moves happen on a tight timeline due to financial constraints or health changes, in most cases there are months to plan. Use this time wisely to help your parents manage the change and grieve for the move. For older parents, a move is more than a “to-do list” but a difficult transition from the life they have known and loved for decades. Give them the time, support, and resources to process the transition. Losing independence is a common feeling during this process — restore a sense of control by letting your parent make as many decisions as possible for the new home.
Plan, Sort, and Organize
Are your parents moving into a smaller home such as an apartment or assisted living facility? The size and layout of the new home will determine what you can bring and what needs to be sold, donated, or thrown away. Depending on the condition of some items such as mattresses and couches, it may be necessary to start over. It may be difficult for your parents to say goodbye to the first couch they bought, that crystal serving set given as a wedding gift, or to downsize their wardrobe. Allow them to reminisce about these items and grieve. To help honour these belongings, encourage them to give some keepsakes to family members and friends if they’d like.
If there are a few items they just cannot bear to part with, don’t force them to give them up if there’s room for them. These could help your parents settle in more comfortably by hanging onto just enough of their precious belongings to feel comfortable. You could also choose to hold onto them yourself to ensure they never lose them entirely.
Scheduling for the Move
Depending on what services you’ll be using to move your parents into their new home, availability may be limited. To ensure the move happens on a specific day and that your planning doesn’t go to waste, reserve moving equipment or trucking rentals well in advance of the big day. Whether you consider a full-service mover or rent a U-Haul and do the work yourself, be sure to reserve everything for when you need it — not a week beforehand! Your parents will be far less stressed and more at ease if the move runs smoothly without hiccups, and you’ll find the process a whole lot more comfortable as well.
It is essential that your parent’s critical items are easily accessible during the move. This includes medication, assistive devices, and any sentimental items that provide peace of mind. Pack a separate emergency bag or box with these items, a change of clothes, water, small snacks, and a first aid kit.
Cleaning and Repairs
Once the house is packed up, and everything is ready to go, what happens with the old place? Is a family member going to take it off your parents’ hands, or is it being sold on the market? Either way, be sure that it receives a thorough cleaning and that necessary repairs are made. Not only will this protect the home’s potential for future occupants, but your parents will feel better about leaving it behind in good shape — especially if they want to sell it. Washing the walls and floors, airing out the house, and even a fresh lick of paint can do wonders in making it appealing and inviting to those moving in or considering purchasing it.
Support During the Move
If your parent requires extra care, timely administration of medication, or emotional support, the chaotic hours and days of the move can be especially tough on them. If you have the time, you can turn to an in-home caregiver for assistance or hire a professional caregiver to tend to your parent while you focus on packing and moving furniture.
Enduring a move can be an overwhelming and daunting process, especially for aging parents. When you’ve lived in your home for many years, you naturally feel safe and comfortable. Change can be confusing and scary. Downsizing or moving can stir up emotions of fear and uncertainty. To help make these problematic experiences easier for your loved ones, we’re here to provide both you and your parents with the care and support that’s necessary.
If you have any questions about moving your parents into a new home or adjusting to life after the move, reach out to Choice Homecare at 613-907-3191.