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Moving & Relocating Seniors: A Practical Guide For Moving Elderly & In-Home Care

Major life changes can bring about apprehension, excitement, and curiosity. Adults are usually eager for new opportunities but also experience anxiety when faced with unfamiliar environments or circumstances.

The process of moving can present unique challenges, mainly when it entails parting ways with beloved possessions and adjusting to an unfamiliar environment. Seniors who rely on daily support may find moving a particularly taxing experience they may not have willingly chosen. This transition can lead to heightened stress, frustration, and confusion levels.

In medical terms, moving seniors from one location to another can put them at risk of Relocation Stress Syndrome (RSS) or transfer trauma. RSS refers to physical and psychological disturbances when an individual moves to a new environment. In elderly adults, transfer trauma can lead to depression, distress, and social withdrawal. Several elements can exacerbate the signs of RSS; these may include cognitive issues such as dementia and impairment, not having enough social support, frailty, and damage to the senses. Owing to these factors, older adults may feel puzzled, unhappy, or upset. Furthermore, this may eventually lead to challenges to take self-care, an increase in weight loss, and an even greater possibility of falling.RSS can also contribute to premature death due to decreased physical and emotional well-being.

It is essential to be aware of the significant impact that moving can have on seniors and to take steps to minimize the stress and prepare them for the transition to a new environment. We have gathered some practical tips and resources that caregivers can use to help older adults move to a new place of living smoother.



1. Foster Collaboration Throughout the Planning Process

As one begins to plan for the transition of an older adult into a new living situation, it is important to keep the planning process a collaborative experience. Although some older adults may be limited by a medical condition or cognitive impairment, allowing those capable of making sound decisions to feel included in the planning process is highly beneficial. Clarity is provided by holding discussions and outlining the details of the transition, which helps the individual understand the upcoming changes. Collaborating with them gives them a sense of control, making the transition process more accessible.

However, it’s not always possible for older adults to have the option of moving themselves. In many such scenarios, they are not allowed to relocate due to circumstances or medical reasons. Sometimes, when families and caregivers are faced with a crisis that makes them realize that a higher level of care is required, they may have to plan a relocation. There may also be instances where caregivers feel unequipped to provide the appropriate support that the older adult needs and thus opt for better care services in a different environment.

When confronted with such scenarios, it becomes imperative to try honoring the older adult’s preferences. One practical approach is facilitating their visit to different suitable options, allowing them to take a tour and get a firsthand experience. This step is crucial to ensure their satisfaction and comfort in the new living arrangement. By doing so, the individual feels that their opinion is valued, and an element of control is maintained in making decisions regarding the move. This helps ease the transition and improve outcomes in their new living situation.



2. Provide Emotional Support Throughout the Moving Process

It’s common for seniors to feel a sense of abandonment or loneliness when moving from familiar surroundings to a new environment. One way to ease this transition is by involving family and friends. Ask loved ones to have casual conversations with the seniors about their upcoming move and validate any concerns or disappointments they might have.

When an older adult is transitioning to a nursing home, assisted living facility, or another type of supportive housing, it is crucial to seek advice from the staff to reduce the chances of Relocation Stress Syndrome. The staff can designate a dedicated team member to assist the new resident in adjusting, promoting engagement in activities, and facilitating introductions to other residents and staff.



3. Safeguarding the Senior’s Personal Possessions

When it comes to downsizing and relocating, we must understand that this can be an emotionally challenging experience for our older adults. They have likely lived in their homes for many years, creating memories and going through countless life events. The home holds great sentimental value to them as they have put significant time, effort, and resources into maintaining it. They may have even built their families or collected personal possessions they must leave behind. Selecting which items to keep and which to let go can be overwhelming for them.

Family members or caregivers must approach this process with extra sensitivity and support. We must be patient and available to help seniors sort through their possessions. Together, we can assist them in deciding which items they want to take along, those they wish to donate, and those they would like to give to friends or loved ones. By safeguarding their possessions and providing our assistance throughout the packing process, we can help ease their transition and make it as smooth as possible.

When facilitating the moving process for an older adult, it’s important to recognize that it can evoke many memories and ignite meaningful conversations. Allowing sufficient time for reminiscing during the transition not only serves as a gift to the adult but also aids in providing closure to their past experiences. This thoughtful approach helps them say goodbye to their previous environment but also assists in easing their transition into their new surroundings.



4. Involve the Seniors in Setting up their New Place

It is crucial to involve the seniors in setting up their new homes. This engagement plays a vital role in ensuring their comfort and adjustment. To create a sense of familiarity, making the new place resemble their previous home as much as possible is recommended. This can be achieved by carefully selecting sentimental items to be displayed in their new living space. These items connect to their past experiences and provide an opportunity for the seniors to share stories with visitors, fostering social interaction and a sense of belonging.

To further enhance the personalization of their new home, it can be beneficial to take a shopping trip together for home decor. This spreads warmth and allows the seniors to express their unique tastes and preferences. Popular stores such as Homegoods, Target, and Walmart offer an extensive range of knickknacks and decorative items, which can create a positive association between seniors and their new living environment.

By involving the seniors in setting up their new place and incorporating meaningful items, the transition can be smoother, and they can develop a strong sense of attachment to their new home.



5. Consider Seeking Assistance From Senior Move Managers

Senior move managers specialize in providing comprehensive support throughout the moving process, particularly when transitioning from a long-term home to a communal living arrangement. Their services go beyond simply hiring and supervising movers. They also offer assistance with organizing and packing belongings and unpacking and setting up your new home. Consider engaging senior move managers to make your move smoother and more seamless while also reducing the stress and challenges that generally come with moving.

Move managers possess expert skills in managing the intricate and emotionally sensitive task of assisting individuals who have amassed many belongings throughout their lives. They not only handle the physically demanding and time-consuming logistics of the move, but they also provide invaluable support in managing the emotional aspects of the transition.

These experts are particularly beneficial for individuals who have spent decades accumulating belongings and those who may have health issues or lack nearby adult children to lend a hand. Senior move managers can even assist in downsizing possessions when someone is moving in or out, making it possible to accommodate multiple generations.

We understand that the cost of move management services can vary greatly. Some senior move managers charge an hourly rate, typically between $25 to $75, depending on where you live. Some individuals or companies might charge a fixed price for the complete project. To find a reliable move manager near you, we recommend visiting the National Association of Senior Move Managers, which has a directory to help you locate professionals in your area.

In addition to our caring and experienced team at Bena Home Care, we understand that making the moving process more accessible for seniors can be challenging for family members and caregivers. To help with this transition, we have provided five helpful tips to smooth the process and reduce the risk of transfer trauma, regardless of the circumstances prompting the move.

1. Stay focused on factors that can make the transition smoother for your loved one.
2. Explore our caregiver resources on our website, covering topics such as medical assistance, personal care, and senior companionship.
3. Contact our team for any questions or support you may need. Our dedicated team of compassionate and highly skilled personal caregivers, registered nurses, and home health aides is ready to provide expert care and support to families like yours.
4. Experience a seamless transition into a new home environment with the help of our dedicated squad of professionals at Bena Home Care.
5. Remember, your well-being is important too. Prioritize self-care to ensure you can provide the best care for your loved one.

Connect with us at Bena Home Care today and experience our exceptional team of compassionate and highly skilled personal caregivers, registered nurses, and home health aides. Our dedicated squad is committed to serving your families with expertise, care, and utmost dedication. Always remember that providing care for others might become challenging unless you prioritize self-care. Your well-being matters too.


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