When you are helping older adults move out of their homes and into a retirement home or helping them to downsize to a smaller place you should take extra care. Here are a few tips that can help you make this relocation more comfortable for them and yourself.
It may seem obvious that you should be kind but when helping senior citizens with their sorting and packing you should keep in mind that their hearing and eyesight isn’t what it used to be and their inability to do what they could when they were younger may have lead to them developing poor housekeeping habits. Instead of commenting on it, offer to clean as you pack and do your best not to criticize. You should also keep in mind that it gets progressively harder to change as we get older and moving to a new place is a significant change for everyone. Be patient ask them about how they are feeling and let them know that you are there to help them.
Help them sort
Like everyone else seniors tend to keep things that they don’t necessarily need or will ever use. Be tactful when suggesting that they get rid of some of these possessions. Ask them if they use the item and if they wouldn’t mind if you donate it. If it’s an heirloom or something that they would like to keep but it can’t fit into their new place, suggest that it be kept in the family by giving it to another grandchild or another relative. It’s often much easier giving away items if you know that they are going to good homes. Find out how big their new place is and if they are moving from let’s say a three bedroom house to a one bedroom condo then it’s a good idea to discuss with them on what will fit and how much of their things can be kept.
Plan the move
Make sure that you give your parents enough time so that they don’t feel rushed. Sorting through years of stuff is hard and sometimes can be emotionally painful, so it’s a good idea to give them some time to absorb the change. If you have access to the new home take your parents there and help them get introduced to the new space, do this on their own time when they feel that they are ready. Let them tell you how they want it to look and a plan to prepare the space accordingly. Allow your parents time to say goodbye. If they take longer to clear out some desk drawers because they found a stack of pictures, let them take the time to relive the memories. This is an important part of the process so be patient and listen to their stories, and you might find that you enjoy and even learn a surprising amount from them.
Are you ready to get your parents to a new home? Contact East Coast West Coast to get the relocation started.