Moving is stressful enough at any time in life, but it is the most stressful for older adults. Why? Older adults have accumulated more things in their lifetimes, they often haven’t moved for decades, and they are often less mobile and able to perform packing and other tasks associated with moving. Additionally, there may be family dynamics that can be more or less helpful which include adult children who live out of town, lead busy lives, or have differing viewpoints on what and how things should be done and who should do it. These types of factors can leave the older adult feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and powerless regarding their own life choices and ability to move forward.
One mistake people sometimes make in moving is doing things out of order, which creates unnecessary stress and confusion. Here are a few simple steps that may help ease your mind and your move.
Step 1: Assess your needs including what area you want to live in, what amenities you would like, how much you want to pay for rent, etc.
Step 2: Tour several senior communities to get a first-hand feel for what feels good to you and make a decision about where you will live.
Step 3: Decide what you want to take to your new home (furniture, household items, etc.)
Step 4: Pack your household and personal items you want to move with you.
Step 5: Move your furniture and other belongings to your new home.
Step 6: Unpack your belongings and set up your new home.
Step 7: Sell, donate, recycle, and dispose of excess items you do not move to your new home.
Step 8: Put your current home on the market.
Tips To Know and Use: There are companies that will help guide you through the process of assessing your needs and taking you on tours to senior communities at no cost to you. Their costs are covered by the senior community. Also, move management companies exist that will help you downsize, develop a floor plan, pack, move, and unpack you quickly and easily. Some of these companies will also help you downsize and get rid of items you no longer want. Other companies will sell desirable furniture and household items for you and charge only a percentage of the value of the sold items for their service. And, finally, there are realtors that will help you in a number of ways. Some recommend selling a house “as is” whereas others may recommend a few updates to improve the look of your home, and some prefer to have a home that is staged rather than vacant. Depending on the type of approach your realtor recommends, Step 8 (above) might be moved higher in the list and happen sooner rather than at the end of the move process.
Things To Avoid: Do not overfill your new home in terms of furniture, kitchen items, etc. etc. This is the single largest mistake most people make. People often say that they will go through and sort/throw things once they get to their new home, but this seldom actually happens. If you are having a hard time parting with things you own, consider getting a storage space instead of overcrowding your new home. If you and/or your family decide to do your own packing, make sure you properly wrap items and label boxes. We have unpacked boxes that others have packed, even professionals, and I am amazed at how poorly organized and protected some packing jobs can be.
Final Advice: Get help from the types of companies and services discussed in this article. It will make your move less stressful and ensure that you end up living where you want to live and greatly reduce the stress of moving. Visit the EPPIA website listed at the end of this article to learn about companies that can help you make the most out of the life-changing decision of moving.
Holly Hansen, Partner
EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA members meet to learn, exchange information and discuss issues in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA and local senior resources, please visit our website at www.edenprairieaging.org