Moving into senior living can be scary, especially if the family member in question has never lived on their own before. Not only will the move be physically tricky— adults over 65 are generally at more risk than young adults when it comes to injury—but it will also present challenges mentally and emotionally. There are, however, things you can do to help alleviate relocation anxiety and make your loved one’s transition more manageable. Try these five ways to help a loved one with relocation today!
This person is still an adult and deserves your respect as such. Be as attentive as you would be to any other person in your life. It can be easy to misjudge any member of the family, which could cause them to feel their dignity is being stripped away from them. Regardless of age, you want them to feel comfortable with their new living situation and their personal space so they can thrive there. If they need help, offer it: If one is relocating by themselves or has never been through a move before, ask what help they need from you. Whether it’s driving them around, packing up some boxes for them, or helping load things into their vehicle for transport, you want to do whatever you can to make moving easier on them.
Work from a Plan
Start by figuring out what you need to move, where it is going, and how you will do it. Everyone moves for different reasons, so having a specific action plan will help your parents feel less stressed about it. The more specific you can be about their new home, or even just their new neighborhood if they move into an assisted living facility, the better equipped they will be.
Let Them Help
In addition to asking your loved ones if they want to help, make sure you let them. Start with some open-ended questions that give them some options and then ask what they would like to do or have done. Be open to their answers. Not only will it help them feel more involved in moving day, but you’ll get a better sense of how much they can handle.
Talk about Their Preferences
Another easy way to begin helping your loved ones is by talking about how they want things done before moving day arrives. Go over their lists and preferences, so there are no surprises when it comes time for moving out of their old place and into a new home.
Find Homes for Treasures
Moving our family members into assisted living can cause loneliness. Your loved one may feel as if they’re giving up their identity and leaving behind treasured objects and memories. But adults over 65 don’t have to lose all their belongings during a move; you can help them find a way to keep cherished items safe and accessible in their new home. Family members who need assistance getting around may not be able to reach high shelves, but there are other options for safely storing favorite items—and these ideas work even if your loved one lives alone. Solutions include special shelving units that can be attached anywhere, like directly on a wall or top of cabinets.
Make the New Space Familiar
You want to make it as easy on them as possible, so give them time to acclimate and help them find some new routines. Also, consider choosing a unique space that’s just like their old one: same layout, same feel, etc. Think about what things were essential to your loved one in their former residence; you don’t have to replicate everything perfectly (it would be difficult and expensive!), but you can get close.