Moving is one of life’s major stressors at any age. As we age the losses seem to gang up on us, loss of health, loss of a family member, loss of memory. Losing our home of 20 plus years is another major change and loss. Families need to be sensitive to what circumstances surround their parents’ move.
1. Minimize the degree of change.
When changing residences, try to stay in the same geographical area. This allows familiarity with the necessary stores such as grocery store, pharmacies and medical offices.
2. Minimize the change of the immediate environment.
Recreate the same comfort zones from their former home to their new home. If they have been getting out of bed on the right side for 20 years, then set up their new bedroom the same. Put things away in cabinets, refrigerators, and drawers the same as much as humanly possible.
3. Honor the person and their possessions.
But again, taking into account the other losses associated with aging, this downsizing can represent loss. Downsizing is not easy for anyone. It is important for the older adult to be in control of the move and involved in the decision making.
4. Identify their treasures, both sentimental and of monetary value.
First come up with an agreed upon plan for what will happen to each treasured item. Family members can do a great service by accepting special gifts that simply do not fit in their new home. Knowing these items have a good home offers great peace of mind to your loved ones.
5. Focus on the person moving and what they are going to take.
Throw away any old invaluable items first. There is no need to move trash when it can simply be thrown away before a big move. Label moving boxes by which room it should end up in. This should cut down on time used for sorting items.
6. Be realistic.
It’s perfectly normal to be overwhelmed when facing 20 plus years of accumulation. Set timelines and assign tasks. Break things down and possibly tackle one room at a time.
7. Be prepared to commit.
Your parents will need emotional and physical support throughout the moving process and while they unpack all of their belongings.
8. Remember and reminisce
Take the time to reminisce and enjoy your family history. Moving often unveils lifetime traditions, stories and treasures that could have been lost or forgotten.
By following these tips, moving should be less stressful and less overwhelming for the whole family. So for your parents’ big move, keep these 8 tips in mind and remember the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center is always here for you. We offer a complimentary in-home assessment, so take advantage of it today! You can reach us at 561-588-4545.