Moving and Downsizing – How Best to Help Elderly Loved Ones Make Transition

Ironic, isn't it? Eventually we become parents to our parents. At some point it will be best for them to downsize their home. You too will need to do the same at some point. Help them make a safe transition and start preparing for your longevity now.

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Moving and Downsizing – How Best to Help Elderly Loved Ones Make Transition
5 Min Read March 26th, 2021 Updated:August 27th, 2023

Moving to a new house is one of the most stressful and most emotional life events for anyone. It is hard not to get attached to the place where you have spent some time. What is more, change, no matter how beneficial and necessary, rarely comes easy. 

For the elderly, it can get even more overwhelming. All the memories made in the place they have spent most of their life make that home difficult to leave behind. Therefore, when the time to downsize comes, it is imperative to help your elderly parent move to a new home. That help will involve all the moving-related tasks - from preparing to move to the relocation itself. But most importantly, your parent will need all the emotional support they can get. Finally, you will need to help them settle in the new place so they can call it their new home. 

Downsizing - Benefits for Older People are Numerous

Once it becomes clear that relocation is the best option for your parents, it's essential to help them understand all the positive aspects of moving to a new home. After all the kids have moved out and started their own lives, such a big house can only become a burden. Now that they live alone, they really do not need such a lot of empty space. 

Moreover, aging brings difficulty moving around, so cleaning and maintaining such a place will undoubtedly become an issue. Also, going up and down the stairs may not be that easy. Finally, we should not neglect the financial aspect of downsizing. The elderly usually have less income, and paying the bills for a huge house is unnecessary. 

When you go over all the positive sides of moving, you must make sure you speak calmly and emphasize the good. The truth is that your elderly parent's life will be much easier in a new home. With fewer expenses, a home that can accommodate their possible mobility issues, they can enjoy life more and spend their money on fun activities and even travel.

It's Emotional - Be Empathic 

As we have already established, moving is an overwhelming life event for your parents. Therefore, it's imperative to help them overcome any difficulties emotionally. Just being there for them is sometimes enough. Make sure you listen to their fears and help them resolve any dilemmas they may have regarding the move. 

Two women talking and smiling.

Also, your parents must have a say in what is happening. They should be able to express their opinions about where they are going. They should say whether they like the place at all. And your job is to hear them out, consider their opinions, and discuss any issues calmly if they arise. 

A Lifetime of Stuff - Time to Declutter

Everyone tends to accumulate stuff in their homes. And a lifetime of collecting can amount to quite a burdensome load of belongings. Whenever and whoever is preparing for relocation, decluttering is the first thing on the list of tasks that need addressing. 

There are practical sides to consider:

  • The move will be cheaper as moving companies usually charge by the weight and size of the cargo they should relocate.
  • You will live in a better organized and uncluttered home.
  • If your parent is downsizing, chances are they will have less space for all the unnecessary things.

Decluttering is something you will have to help your aging parent with. Sorting through all those memories and mementos of youth can be emotionally draining. Even when there is no heavy lifting involved, they will need support letting go of the items that remind them of past life events. During the decluttering, they may reminisce about these events and talk about them. 

Reminiscing as You Declutter

This is an excellent opportunity to talk and remember some of the past's funny situations and laugh about them. The whole process will go much more smoothly if you spend time together and say goodbye to the old home in a cleansing and comforting way.

Finally, if your parent has difficulty letting go of some items and transferring them to their new home is not possible, they should know that placing them in storage is always a good option. That way, they will not have to say goodbye, and the items will be safe until needed again or the time to part with them has come. 

Packing - A Day's Worth of Fun

An older couple and their dog.After the decluttering, it's time to start packing. While you can hire professional packers to do this for you, inviting friends and family to help may be a better option. Seeing more people there and ready to offer a helping hand will show your elderly parent that they are not alone and that many people care about them. With more people around, this may even turn out to be a fun activity. Most importantly, talking and joking will help take your parent's mind off things that may bother them. 

If you are moving more than a few miles away, you need to make sure packing is done correctly to protect your property.

Finding the Right Moving Crew

While there are tasks you can do on your own, the actual move, be it a few miles away or across the country, is best left to the professionals. They will handle all the heavy lifting, loading, and unloading, allowing you to spend time with your parents so they can relocate to your new home easily and stress-free

Many companies are particularly sensitive to the needs of the elderly and even specialize in elderly relocation. They can efficiently address any mobility issues and are equipped with all necessary equipment to make the relocation speedy and safe. 

Patience and Empathy - Two Ingredients to Help Parent's Move

The essential steps of every relocation are always the same - planning, scheduling, decluttering, packing, and moving. Senior relocations require two ingredients - patience and empathy. Therefore, if you want to help your parents move to a new house, you have to be full of understanding. You must be there for them in more ways than one. Your job will not only be packing and heavy lifting. 

Your most important task will be to offer your parent support through emotionally challenging stages. You should help them understand what their options are. You will need to talk to them about everything and put your listening skills to the test. 

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About the Author

Jane Stinson is a relocation specialist who has worked with many seniors over the years. Having seen how hard some of them have taken it, she has decided to start blogging about helping seniors, and younger generations, move to their new homes. Jane aims to make the whole experience more comfortable. In her free time, she enjoys reading and gardening.

LTC News Contributor Jane Stinson

Jane Stinson

Contributor since March 26th, 2021

Editor's Note

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