Moving Tips for Seniors As They Transition to Assisted Living

By Lori Thomas, VP of Marketing / Chief Editor at Senior Advice

There are millions of seniors today who make the choice to transition to assisted living. This can be a hard decision but one that ultimately pays off for many seniors. While the idea of moving to a new place can be stressful for some seniors, it is the actual moving day that can cause the most stress. Many times, adult children need to step in and take care of the move and all of the particulars involved, which can add an extra layer of uncertainty to the situation. However, with a few moving day tips, most family members and loved ones can ensure that the transition is a smooth one for all parties involved.

Give Them Time

Many seniors have spent years or even decades in their home before they make the transition to assisted living or a nursing home. Their old home can have a great deal of sentimental value and a lot of memories tied to it, which can make the move hard. When moving day comes around, make sure to plan plenty of time for the senior to say “goodbye” it may not be emotional for them until the end. It is important to remember that this is a big change in their lives and leaving their home behind can stir up a lot of emotions. However long you think the move will take, make sure to schedule additional time in for the senior to say goodbye.

Communication is Key

The more you communicate with a senior about their upcoming move, the better off all parties will be. There are a lot of tough conversations that center around moving to a retirement community or assisted living center. Make sure to communicate everything that has been planned with the move. Let them know when the move will start, when it will end, how it is going to go and what they can expect. Talk them through the entire process, let them know what is going on and what is coming next.

Many seniors deal with a perceived loss of control during this process, so if you end up surprising them with unplanned events it can only make that feeling of loss of control even more difficult.

Plan What Goes and What Stays

When in charge of a senior’s move, it is important to take the time and really plan out every detail. Once there is a plan, stick to it. Take the time to plan out the senior’s new place, determine what furniture will fit and work within their assisted living apartment or room and make sure to mark which items should go and which items should be sent to storage or sold. Take the time to really plan out the new space, using a computer program or even a piece of graph paper. There are even some assisted living facilities that will come in and do the measurements for their new residents.

This way, the new home won’t be filled with extra items that just need to be moved again. It is important to bring some items from home when moving to help the senior feel as though this new residence is actually their own. Start planning ahead as far in advance as possible so seniors don’t have to make a decision about what goes and what stays on the same already emotional day as their move.

Clean and Repair After the Move

Many times when seniors leave a home that they have been in for years or decades, the house needs a little work in order to be ready for resale. Instead of worrying your senior loved one with repairs and maintenance or having repair professionals in their home during this difficult time, try to handle all of these repairs after your loved one has moved out. Plan ahead so you know what will need to be cleaned or fixed, but try to hold off on the actual work until the move is done.

This can alleviate stress and allow you to focus on the most important part of the move: getting your loved one safely settled in their new home. Try not to rush the sale of the home so much that it inconveniences your senior loved one. You don’t want them to feel pressured or on a time crunch to leave their home just because someone else is waiting to get in.

Hire the Right Type of Movers

There are some seniors who will want to be present on moving day. While in some situations, it may be best to keep your senior loved one away from the moving process, many adults want to be there as their lives get packed up and moved to a new location. If your senior loved one wants to be there and physically can be there, then allow them, just make sure that you have the right type of movers in place on the day of.

With this in mind, consider hiring full-service movers that load and deliver everything from one home to its final destination. This will give you as a caregiver or loved one, extra time to focus on your senior and to make sure they are safe and comfortable with the move. While it can be an expensive solution, it is one that will make the move much more efficient and much less stressful in the end.

When arriving at the new assisted living facility, it is important that you try to get the new residence looking like home as quickly as possible. While it will take some time, make sure to set out pictures and a few personal effects the very first night. This can go a long way in helping your senior loved one feel as though this new place is really their home. If you feel as though your senior loved one will be overwhelmed by the unpacking process, have a friend or caregiver take them somewhere for a few hours so you can get everything set up for them.

Taking extra steps as these can go a long way in helping any senior easily handle their transition to their new life in assisted living.

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Robin McCoy is a Texas Realtor with Keller Williams Realty. License #0582766 | 214.226.3770 |

Published by Living In DFW

I guess you can take the girl out of Texas but you can't take Texas out of the girl. I was born here in Dallas and moved away at age 8. After 30 years of moving around the United States, as a child with the family and as an adult without them, I finally found myself back in Dallas. Since I returned in 2001 I have sold furniture for Crate&Barrel and Real Estate with Keller Williams. It is my hope to share with you what I love, question, and find interesting here in DFW.

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