Moving Tips for Seniors

Moving is tough at the best of times. Along with getting married, suffering a bereavement, and losing a job, it’s one of the most stressful things that the average person will experience. Just like those events, it’s often unavoidable. 

If you’re ill, disabled, and suffer from mobility problems, all your stress and woes are amplified significantly.

There will come a time when it’s no longer feasible to live in your current home. Maybe you want to be closer to family members or you can no longer afford your home. Oftentimes, when the kids fly the nest, the family home becomes a big, empty, and expensive responsibility. As a result, it may make more sense to downsize and save yourself some trouble.

Whatever the reason, when a senior relocates stress levels increase, problems mount, and you have a big journey ahead of you. To help you through these tough times, here are some top moving tips for older adults suffering from limited mobility.

Get Help from Friends and Family

Whether you’re moving into an assisted living facility, a nursing home, a retirement community, or you have found a nice little home by the coast, there’s a good chance you will have accumulated a lot of junk that you don’t have space for. Even if you have space, you don’t want to clutter a new house as soon as you move in!

Friends and family can help you sort through your possessions, getting rid of the stuff you don’t need and keeping the things you do. They can offer to store some items that you can’t let go of and even arrange a yard sale or sell some items online. 

Whether you’re selling, discarding, or donating, reducing the load like this will make packing and unpacking easier and will ensure you have less clutter in your new home.

Friends and family members can also take some of the burden of responsibility off your shoulders, dealing with insurers and professional movers, telling utility providers about a change of address, and speaking with realtors.

​If you don’t have a team of loved ones to call upon, contact the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) and get help relocating.

Organize Your New Living Space

Make sure your new home is fully prepared for your arrival. Think about the placement of furniture, appliances, and rugs. If you suffer from mobility issues, you need to make sure there are no trip hazards and that you can get around easily. Look at the floor plan, measure your furniture, and, if you have a smaller home, consider selling these items and buying new ones.

If you were struggling in your old home, you should also consider taking steps to make your new home more disability friendly. To do this, consider home modifications, such as walk-in bathtubs, lift chairs, grab rails, stairlifts, and handrails.

Create a Checklist

It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re moving, and whether you have mobility issues or not; creating a checklist is essential. It will save you time, money, and stress, all while ensuring you’re doing everything you can to facilitate a smooth process.

Your moving checklist should be structured like a timeline, with information on what you need to do at specific times. For instance, for a move on December 1st, your checklist may look like this:

  • By October 1st
    • Decide which items to keep and which ones to get rid of, which ones need to be moved to storage space, and which ones need to be insured. Donate, sell, or give away unwanted items. 
    • Speak with moving companies and get some quotes. You don’t need to pay for their services just yet, but by doing your research early you have more time to read reviews, ask for recommendations, and make sure you’re dealing with a reputable company.
  • By November 1st
    • If you’re moving long-distance, plan hotel/motel stays. If your new home is being built and won’t be ready by the time you sell your old home, consider long-term accommodation. Stay with friends, book a hotel room, or rent apartments/houses for as long as you need.
    • Get medical records from your doctors and make sure they are informed of your move. Contact clinics in your new area to register.
    • Contact insurance providers, banks, lenders, creditors, and anyone else who needs to be informed that you’re planning a move.
    • Purchase boxes, tape, and other packing supplies.
    • Don’t forget about your pets! If you’re moving across the country, speak with your vet about preparing them for the trip. For pets that struggle with long car journeys, they may prescribe medications to sedate them. You should also stock up on food and water so they don’t get hungry or thirsty during the trip, as the heat of the car and the stress of traveling can be very difficult for them. 
  • By November 15th
    • Start the moving process, packing items that you won’t need for the next two weeks, and leaving only the bare essentials.
    • Make sure that expensive and irreplaceable items are insured and fully protected during the move. You may also want to backup computers and devices.
    • Contact utility companies to cut off supply to your old home and prepare your new one.
    • Prepare your vehicle for the trip. Visit a mechanic and make sure it’s ready.
  • By November 23rd
    • Confirm that the moving services are ready to go when you need them.
    • Let go of any junk and useless items you won’t need in your new home. This is your last chance to get rid of them and prevent you from cluttering your new space. Donate them, throw them away, or give them to friends.
    • Complete the packing process. Everything needs to be ready at this point, so ask loved ones to help you and keep only basic food items and personal hygiene items.
    • Drop by your local pharmacy and stock-up on prescription and non-prescription items that you’ll need for the next month or two. You want to be prepared just in case there are any delays in your new location.
    • Donate all food you can’t take with you and won’t be eating. Don’t let it all go to waste. There will be food banks and even neighbors who can take it off your hands.
    • Take all essential items, such as medications, phones, laptops, chargers, credit cards, toiletries, toilet paper, and emergency food supplies, with you in the car. Don’t put them on the moving truck.