Experts say that moving is a “high-stress life event.” We know there can be a lot of emotion that comes with a move to senior living. In addition to the emotional aspect of the move, there is also a daunting physical aspect – the actual move itself. For many of our residents, this is the first move in a long time. This could mean getting a house ready for sale and going through years of household goods. Just the thought of it may seem paralyzing.
Take a deep breath and know that we are here to help. We do this every day. And we do it well. Start with these simple steps to start your new chapter with less stress and more FUN.
14 Steps to Moving Into Senior Living
- Focus on the positives. This is a move you or a loved one needs to make for a better quality of life – leaving behind the yardwork, home maintenance, cooking, and cleaning. Adventure is waiting, you just need to take the first step.
- Pack with confidence. Before you do anything, contact your Leisure Care community to see if they provide moving assistance. If they don’t, consider how much time you’ll need to sort, downsize, pack, and unpack. Give yourself about 100 hours to sort, 20 hours to downsize, and 40–60 hours to pack and unpack.
- Purchase a new notebook specifically for your move. This notebook is a great place to make lists, remind yourself of questions that you need the answer to, and even record memories as you go through belongings.
- Be realistic. Don’t try to pack and sort 50 years of memories in one day. Know that it’s going to take time and that’s okay.
- Start small. If going through belongings feels overwhelming, it’s okay to start small. Commit to 20 minutes a day and we bet that once you get going, it will be hard to stop.
- Set deadlines. This will help hold you and your family members accountable. For example, schedule a time for loved ones to pick up family heirlooms, arrange for donation pick-up by a local charity, or set a timer and promise yourself to only focus on sorting or packing until the timer dings.
- Sort through medications and transfer any prescriptions. Doing this in advance can eliminate headaches once you’ve moved and ensure your medication will be where you need it to when you need it.
- Start a folder or safe with important documents. Keep these with you and separate as you work through your move so they do not get thrown away or given away. Important documents should include your will, power of attorneys, medical records, military records, diplomas, birth certificates and passports.
- Ask adult children to come and collect their things. This will eliminate you from having to go through their belongings and can cut down on your packing time.
- Think through mail and subscription services. Have mail forwarded or cancel any unwanted subscriptions and memberships.
- Ask your new community for a floor plan with measurements. Examine the floor plan of your new apartment, and use it as a guide. Measure exactly how much space you’ll have, and fill an equivalent amount of space as you pack. Plan where your furniture will go in your new home. Sell or give away the furniture that you no longer need or won’t fit.
- Make it fun! We like to make just about everything a little more fun. Grab a friend, turn on some music, pour a cup of tea (or a glass of wine), and get going!
- Find a home for pets, if necessary. Many communities are pet-friendly, welcoming cats and smaller dogs. Ask your community what their rules are regarding pets and start searching for a new home for your furry friend if your new community does not allow pets.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Enlist as much assistance as you need from an interior designer, home staging specialist, real estate agent, move manager, or moving company.