Making a big life transition, such as moving to a new home, can be highly stressful – especially if you're doing it with an elderly family member. You want to make sure everything goes smoothly and your loved one is comfortable throughout the process.
It’s not easy to ensure that happens, however, with some preparation, you can help make it less stressful for them! Below are some tips for a successful move with an elderly family member.
4 Tips for Moving with Seniors
Start planning early
Moving with a senior requires careful planning and ample time for a smooth and stress-free transition. Starting early not only allows you to address any potential challenges that may arise, but also ensures that you can accommodate the specific needs of your loved one.
Try to start planning at least two months prior to the moving date. At this stage, you should begin downsizing and researching moving companies. If you’re moving long-distance or across the country, you will also need to think about transportation options, either flying or driving.
This is especially important if your elderly family member has certain medical conditions or requires special arrangements, such as if they are in a wheelchair or bedbound. Can your senior loved one sit still for long hours in the car?
If you fly, do they need medical equipment, such as oxygen, to bring on board? There could also be circumstances where you would need to book a private medical flight service if they are too fragile to fly on a commercial airplane. By planning early, you will have plenty of time to think through your options.
Hire professional movers who are experienced in moving seniors
For a smooth and hassle-free moving experience, it is best to hire professional movers or senior move managers who are experienced in relocating elderly individuals, such as through the National Association of Senior and Specialty Move Managers (NASMM).
Experienced movers understand the unique needs of seniors, such as the importance of preserving memories, handling fragile items, and ensuring that their personal belongings are treated with respect.
Additionally, senior move managers are specifically trained to provide emotional support for the elderly during a move. By entrusting this task to field experts, you and your loved one can enjoy peace of mind, knowing that the relocation process is being handled with sensitivity and compassion.
Take frequent breaks
When moving with an elderly family member, don’t forget to take frequent breaks throughout the process. Moving is physically and emotionally taxing for anyone, but it can be especially challenging for seniors who may have low energy levels. By taking regular pauses, you can prevent injuries to your senior loved one caused by exhaustion.
These breaks can also serve as an opportunity for everyone involved to communicate and offer emotional support during these moments, which can significantly reduce the anxiety and stress associated with moving. Keep in mind that your loved one may need more time to process the situation and adapt to the changes, which we will discuss further below.
Embrace the feelings
One of the primary challenges of relocating is the emotional aspect of leaving a familiar environment. Moving can be extremely stressful and could lead to relocation depression, which can provoke feelings of anxiety and sadness, particularly in elderly individuals.
This condition could potentially exacerbate existing health issues or contribute to overall discomfort. If your elderly relative exhibits these symptoms before and after a move, they may experience relocation depression:
- Weight gain or loss
- Changes in energy levels and sleep schedule
- Changes in appetite
- Frequent mood swings
Relocation depression symptoms may ease over time, but there are ways to manage them while your senior loved one is adjusting to the new place:
- Make the new home as comfortable as possible
- Spend more time with your senior loved one
- Start a self-care routine and do it together, such as walking around the neighborhood, doing yoga, or watching their favorite movies.
- Explore the new neighborhood and get to know your neighbors
You can also read our previous post to learn more about managing stress in seniors. If the symptoms persist, it can be helpful to talk to a therapist and develop a treatment plan.
Moving with an older family member can seem like a daunting task, but with careful planning and the help of experienced professionals, you can make this transition smoother. Above all else, remember to take frequent breaks so that things don’t become too overwhelming for you and your elder relative.
If you are planning to move or have just recently moved to Lafayette with a senior family member and need home care assistance while they are adjusting to the new environment, contact us!
Our caring and professional senior helpers in Lafayette, LA, are committed to providing the best senior home care in the area to help them get through the transition. Get in touch with us today, and let us help you!