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10 Unique Concerns When Downsizing or Moving Seniors
10 Unique Concerns When Downsizing or Moving Seniors
All people have concerns when downsizing or moving. Will I like where I’m going? Did I make the right decision? Where will I get my hair cut? These and more are normal questions and concerns. For Seniors, in addition to these questions, there are a unique set of concerns and questions. Below is an outline of 10 unique and common concerns Seniors have when downsizing and/or moving.
Emotional Attachment to Possessions
Seniors, not different than most people, may have emotional attachment to their possessions, making it difficult for them to let go of items they have accumulated over the years. Some of these may have been held since they were children. It's important to approach this process with sensitivity and compassion.
One way to help is to suggest donating some items to charities. This can help the emotional detachment knowing that someone will make great use of their possession(s). A list of Boston area charities and what types of items they accept can be found in one of my previous blogs.
Another way to help is to work slowly through the process. Have you heard of the expression “time heals all wounds”? Put that into practice in this situation. No need to make all the decisions at once. A little at a time will help the healing process.
Health and Mobility Issues
Seniors may have health and mobility issues that need to be taken into account when planning a move. This may include arranging for special accommodations such as wheelchair ramps, stairlifts, or an accessible bathroom. One thing I deal with is their desire to physically help with the move. Most of my clients do not have the strength or stamina to do so. If this happens, I suggest carving out very small duties to help them feel a part of the process.
There are 3 things needed if this is an issue: Patience, Patience, and Patience. Seniors may have cognitive decline, which can make the moving process even more challenging. They may need extra support and reminders throughout the process. Writing things down in a list format to provide to them can be quite helpful.
Seniors may have strong social connections in their current community. Moving them away from their friends and social network can be challenging, and it's important to help them find ways to maintain those connections in their new location. You can also help them find new ones. Teach them how to use Facetime or Zoom so they can maintain face-to-face contact. You can also research community groups in the area, such as senior centers, clubs, or volunteer organizations. If they are struggling to find social connections, consider a companion service that can provide them with companionship and socialization opportunities. Mature Caregivers is an excellent one in the Boston area.
Downsizing or moving can be expensive, and Seniors may be on a fixed income. It's important to consider the financial implications of the move and help them find ways to minimize costs where possible. Moving is expensive. Helping them reduce possessions can go a long way towards reducing the moving expense.
If the Senior requires caregiving support, it's important to ensure that the new location has adequate support services available. Mature Caregivers, mentioned above, is a great resource for this. A simple web search will result in a list of others. Be sure to check their references and read their reviews.
Seniors may be on multiple medications, and it's important to ensure that their medications are managed properly during the move and in their new location. There are some great services that pack and label all medications so that no mistakes are made. Some of them are PillPack, MedPack and Capsule.
Seniors may have specific safety concerns in their new location, such as falls or accessibility issues. It's important to assess the new environment for potential safety hazards. Rehearse their daily living with them to identify accessibility needs. Consider everything they do from sleeping, waking, washing, eating, TV/entertainment, and preparing for bed.
Legal and Financial Documents
Seniors may have important legal and financial documents that need to be properly managed and protected during the move. Scan copies of anything and everything and keep them on a flash drive and in a cloud storage solution like Google or Apple. Most are free for the storage that a typical person will need for these types of documents.
Adjusting to New Surroundings
Seniors may take longer to adjust to their new surroundings, which can cause stress and anxiety. It's important to provide emotional support and help them feel comfortable and settled in their new home. Take them for frequent rides so they can acquaint themselves with the area. Print out maps or bookmark them and highlight certain areas of interest specific to them and their likes and needs like stores, parks, library, RMV, government offices, and restaurants.
Overall, downsizing or moving Seniors requires careful planning, empathy, and support. It also takes patience and effort. Remember how difficult and unsettling new places can be and make the effort to help them become comfortable. By taking these unique concerns into account, you can help make the transition as smooth as possible for them.