Moving your elderly parents or moving with your elderly parents might be on the top ten list of the most unwanted things to do right after having teeth pulled out without any Novocaine. It is going to be extremely stressful unless you happen to be part of the 1% of the people that get along perfectly well with their parents.
The problem is that moving disturbs everyone psychologically. All parents are likely to revert to treating any of their children like kids. This happens even if the “kids” are mature middle-aged adults and their parents are in their 80s.
Be Prepared for Role Reversal During a Move
When moving the “kid” will normally be in charge and the elderly parent will need help and guidance. This role reversal is difficult to accept by some elderly. Fights are likely to break out over silly things due to the stress caused by the change.
Elderly people become very set in their ways and stuck where they are, even if they constantly complain about their living space. They may complain, but they are more comfortable with a place that they know well.
When it comes to a new place, they have so much fear come up that they can only imagine how bad it will be and their stress levels go off the charts. Now that we know that it is going to be stressful, here are some tips to make the move less challenging.
1. Allow Plenty of Time to Transition
The more time that can be allocated to making the transition from the old place to the new place the better. If possible, start months in advance with decluttering activities. Clean out, throw out, sell or donate stuff that reduces the things that need to be moved. Make these fun events and do not try to do too much at one time.
2. Visit the New Place Before Moving There
Take your elderly parent for a vacation to the new place before moving there. Let them get a feel of it and see some things that are fun to do.
3. Organize the Move Thoroughly
Organize the stuff for the move by choosing things that need to be taken to the new place and identifying things that can go into storage. If there is less to unpack when you first arrive at the new place, your elderly parents will be less worried about unpacking and not exhaust themselves trying to do too much too quickly.
4. Utilize Self-Storage
Some things cannot be thrown out, sold, or given away and still need to be kept. Examples are important old records or school yearbooks. These are great choices of things to put away in storage. Have fun with this process.
5. Leave a Legacy For The Future
Help your elderly parents select things that they want to leave to others. Put these items in specially-labeled boxes with that person’s name on them. The act of boxing up stuff to give away to others can be quite fun. This does not feel so much like losing things. Instead, it feels more like preserving them.
6. Use Professionals to Make the Move Easier
For the heavy-moving let the professional movers handle all the work Your job is to give them the guidance they need to move things to the correct locations. It is better if you are the only one there to supervise the movers and your elderly parents are off somewhere else while the move is going on. Perhaps, you can have them be at the new place getting it ready.
Movers find that too many people in a house when they are moving things out, get in the way. Your elderly parents do not need to watch the movers. This can make the elderly person and the movers very nervous. You need to be the one adult that supervises the movers, in a way that the process is coordinated and well-executed.
7. Pack Favorite Things Carefully
There are probably a few treasured things that an elderly parent is deeply attached to and these need to be packed very carefully. You may want to separate them and monitor how the movers pack these critically-important items. The sadness of something that is truly treasured being broken in the move is something you want to avoid or you may hear about this for years after the move.
8. Plan on Downsizing
If you are moving your elderly parents from a home that they lived in for decades to a smaller place you will need to do some significant downsizing. One way to achieve this is to make a list of the things you need for the new place and then have your elderly parent help you select the items that will fit in the new place.
Your focus should be on choosing what to take, not on what is left behind. Make a catalog of the items for the new place and mark the items with a label that tells the movers where they are to go in the new place.
9. Living Together with Respect for Privacy
If you are going to be sharing a living space be sure that it has designated private areas that elderly parents have just for themselves. Sharing the common spaces like the living room and the kitchen is fine; however, everyone needs to have private space also like their bedroom and bathroom. It is easier to get along when there is a safe haven to get away from the rest of the family when necessary.
Making the Move Easier Through Preparation
Moving is traumatic for almost everyone. It is even more traumatic for elderly parents because it can be a symbolic moment that makes them think about their life coming to an end. Try to be patient with them, follow our tips, and if things get too stressful take a break by walking around the block until everyone calms down.
If you manage the stress with love and patient responses and pace yourself, then you will not be overwhelmed by it. Soon enough, the move will be over and you can take your time setting up the new place, moving things in from storage as needed.
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