The Bekins Blog
Helping Your Aging Parents Move: 3 Tips to Ease Their Transition
Our parents are getting older, and you can’t help but notice that it is difficult for them to navigate stairs, take care of their large yard, and even drive. You know that their health will improve and their lifestyle will be happier if they relocate.
Whether your parents are moving to a small, comfortable home in a retirement community, to an assisted living home, or even in with you or another of their adult children, you know that it will be a challenging move. Your parents have years of memories in their old home and neighborhood, and they may feel that they are giving up their independence when they move to a more comfortable, safer home.
Below are three tips to help you make your aging parents’ move as stress-free as possible. Ease their transition into this new stage of life-read more below.
Be Sensitive to Their Emotional Needs
Moving can sometimes feel stressful, even if it’s a run-of-the-mill, standard relocation or a move to an exciting place. But as your parents get older and move away from the home they’ve lived in for years, the move can be especially painful. Your parents may struggle with this transition, which is why it is important that you be especially sensitive to their needs.
One key to easing the emotional pain of a move is communication. Talk with your parents frequently about their needs, expectations, and preferences. If your aging parents feel that you are taking their desires into consideration as you arrange the move and the new home, they may feel a little more comfortable.
As your parents age, it may be difficult for them to understand their health needs as clearly as you do. Be patient as you communicate your concerns and listen to their opinions. You may need to be firm as you help them, but always be loving and patient.
You might want to consider asking other members of the family to be extra supportive during this time. Frequent contact from beloved grandchildren, children, and even family friends can help your parents feel that they are still needed, even if they have to move to an assisted living home or to a warmer climate.
Use a Reputable Moving Company
Your parents may feel added anxiety as they pack and work through the logistics of the move. There are plenty of options that can help streamline the process, including a reputable moving company and even a move coordinator that specializes in senior moves from the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM).
If you hire professional movers, you ensure that the move is organized and punctual. A moving company can help you and your parents pack, store, ship, and unpack the entire home, from your mother’s prized ceramic figurine collection to your father’s thirty-year-old lawn mower. Using professionals to relocate your parents will protect their prized possessions and put their minds at ease.
Because professional moving companies have handle various types of moves, you can depend on their experience as you plan and execute the move. Their help will make it easier for you to focus on other things, like taking care of your parents’ health needs.
Prepare the New Home
Your parents can grow to love their new living situation, especially if it makes their lives more comfortable and safer. Talk to your parents about what they’d like to have in their new home, and while the moving company takes care of the details of the move, create a great new space for your parents.
Your parents may be moving to a variety of different living accommodations, but two principles remain true no matter where they’re moving: make the house a home, and remember your parents’ age-related needs.
You can make the house a home by ensuring that your parents most prized possessions are waiting for your parents when they arrive. Your parents may want to arrange their furniture and other belongings themselves, but you can do a lot to create an atmosphere that your parents will feel comfortable in. A few family pictures, a planted garden, or their favorite books already on the shelves-these kinds of details will help your parents feel at home right away.
You should also do everything you can to prepare the home for older occupants. If there are stairs in the home, consider installing a ramp or chair lift. Keep possessions within reach instead of on the top shelves. Make sure that your parents understand where the furnace, breakers, and other installations are so that, in case of an emergency, they know what to do.
Taking care of your aging parents, helping them move, and arranging their new home can be a real challenge, but you love your parents and want them to be comfortable, safe, and happy. You can do it. Communicate openly, express your love, and use a trusted moving company, and you may be surprised by how easy this transition can become for you and your parents.