Growing Old Isn’t for Wimps: Easing The Transition

Growing old isn’t easy, we’ve all heard the saying, “getting old isn’t for wimps.” Along with health issues, losing a spouse or close friends, moving to a new home can be one of the most painful things a person may ever endure. There may come a time, however, when it’s necessary for your loved one to downsize or receive additional help. Planning ahead will help make the transition better for your loved one.
Don’t wait for a crisis
Determine a plan before it’s urgent. If you wait until there is a health crisis you will need to make quick decisions that may not be the best for your loved one. Assisted living facilities often have wait lists so getting on the list ahead of time is necessary. Figuring out a plan early will also give your loved one more time to get used to the idea.
Keep communication open
Talk to your loved one about their wishes. Keep the conversation lines open. Reassure your loved one that you will try your best to ease the transition.
Hire a professional
Moving your loved one can be stressful for everyone involved. If there is a disagreement between family members, enlist the help of a professional. Hiring a mediator can help resolve family conflicts and help reach an outcome that everyone likes.
Create a system for giving away valuables
If possible, encourage your loved one to make a list of their valuables and other family heirlooms. Send the list to family and friends so they can select anything they might like to have. Your loved one may feel better if they know their valuables are passed down to other family members.
Determine new house needs
Once you find a new home for your loved one, determine what they will need. Do they have their own kitchen? How many square feet will they have in their new home? If they are moving from a large house to a small apartment, they will have to say goodbye to quite a few possessions.
Hold an estate sale
Organize an estate sale or find a charity and make a donation. Select a charity that your loved one feels passionate about if possible.
Make their new place feel like home
Obtaining a floor plan can be very helpful while you’re determining what to keep. It may be comforting to design a small part of your loved one’s new home to feel like their old house. Maybe it’s a chair, table, artwork or plant? Grouping their favorite things in a similar way may make them feel more secure in their new environment and remind them of home.
Get to know the neighbors
If your loved one is moving into an assisted living environment, find out if you can attend an event at the facility. Meeting new people and making new friends may make your loved one feel more comfortable with the move especially if they’ve been lonely.
Enlist the help of experienced movers
Choose a moving company that has experience moving senior citizens. There are moving companies that specialize in gentle transitions for elderly people. Make sure that they are licensed and bonded. You may even want to hire the moving company to pack your loved one’s things to help ease the stress of the move.

  • Image by chefranden. CC from Flickr.

Guest post contributed by Lisa Hirst Carnes, for Barrett Moving & Storage. Barrett Moving & Storage has experienced senior move managers in Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota.