Things to Consider When an Elderly Family Member Is Moving Home

Posted on: 30 April 2015

Moving home can be a difficult and stressful time for many; however, it is particularly troublesome for the elderly. It's important that you are there for your elderly family members during this difficult time in order to avoid any injuries occurring and ensure they are in the right frame of mind for the move.

Things to Consider before the Move

When it comes to helping an elderly family member move into a new home or into a nursing home, it's important to realize that there's much more to the move itself than packing boxes. Elderly people have different physical and emotional needs, making the process more challenging. As such, it's important that you think through their requirements prior to getting started.

People lose their physical capabilities as they grow older and you must be prepared for this. They will need significant assistance in packing their belongings away and will tire much quicker than they may have previously. You will have to offer a lot of physical support in order to make the move a quick and efficient process.

It's also important to keep your patience with elderly people as they become frustrated at their limited physical capabilities. Typically, older people have a lot of pride in themselves and may become stressed due to the amount of help they now require. Try not to lose your patience if your family member loses their patience; always remember, they aren't frustrated with you.

Preparing for the Move

When it comes to organizing the move itself, you should allow for significantly more time in carrying out the physical work. Most younger, fully able adults will carry out the entire move in one weekend. However, this could become overwhelming for an elderly person. Try to split up the clearing and packing into smaller chunks that are easier for your family member to digest.

Carrying out the move in several small allotments will reduce the chance of your family member becoming stressed or losing their temper with the process. It will also allow them time to recuperate physically before completing the move.

While the physical aspects are highly important, don't understand the emotional impact that moving home can have on an elderly person. Particularly if they have lived in the same home for a significant length of time, sorting a lifetime of possessions into cardboard boxes can be an extremely emotional process. Uncovering old photographs, graduation certificates, or marriage certificates can weigh heavily upon an elderly person's mind, so give them the chance to take it all in and don't rush the process.

The most important thing is that you keep moving forwards with the move; however, take regular breaks when your family member feels like things are becoming too much. 

Dealing with Downsizing

It's very rare that elderly people will be moving into a larger home; rather, they will likely be downsizing in order to sell their current property or they will be moving into a retirement home. Most elderly people will welcome the change, especially if they feel alone in a large home. However, this process requires thorough decluttering and disposing of old property, which can be a difficult task in itself.

Throwing away your belongings isn't easy at any age; however, it can be particularly difficult as you grow old. Therefore, you need to plan in advance to help your family member prioritize what is necessary and discard other items.

One of the best ways to do this is to find a local charity that can make use of your family member's old belongings. Donating to charity is much more satisfying than throwing bags upon bags of stuff into the trash. This will help your family member get through the decluttering process much easier, without feeling angry about throwing their possessions away.

While it's vitally important you offer the support required, hiring a professional moving company like to do the work on your behalf can greatly reduce your family member's effort and stress.