Moving Elderly Family Members: How You Can Help

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A new home, a new chapter, new possibilities! Moving is undoubtedly an exciting life event, however, as we age, we may find it more difficult to go through the process—both physically and emotionally. Even those who have relocated many times before often encounter new hurdles with the passing of time, making a helping hand much appreciated, and sometimes necessary.  

Here’s how you can help elderly family members with the moving process.

1. Research Moving Companies

Research is a must to avoid fly-by-night scammers when it comes to hiring professional movers. With many scams targeting seniors, thorough research is especially important when moving the elderly.  

Luckily, a little research goes a long way and by knowing what to look for, you can find professionals that will make the moving process a breeze.

Any moving company you hire should have these 3 things:

  1. A solid reputation with a profile on www.bbb.com
  2. A state and national Department of Transportation license number
  3. Proof of insurance

2. Help Them Make Room

If your family member is dealing with the downsizing dilemma, they may be struggling with sorting through a lifetime of possessions. After all, the memories attached can make the process very emotional.

Here are a few ways you can help:

  • Go through various rooms with them and help them decide if they should keep, store, donate, or toss. Start with areas that tend to be less sentimental, like the bathroom or kitchen
  • Organize or digitize their photos. A digital photo frame can keep all their memories on a loop and it takes up far less room than multiple photo albums.
  • Help them sell their unwanted belongings. Posting something for sale on the internet might be easy for you, but it isn’t always for the older generation.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with helping them downsize or don’t feel like you are making progress, you may also want to discuss calling in professional help. There are senior move managers, also called senior relocation advisors, that specialize in assisting seniors downsize. 

3. Be Patient

Have patience and don’t rush. Many people naturally find themselves rushing through the moving process to get it over with as quickly as possible but older family members may want or need a bit more time. Beyond sorting through a lifetime of memories, they also have physical limitations and probably can’t move at the pace that they once did. 

Instead of rushing them, try encouraging them to take a break every half an hour or so. Sit down with them to have a cup of coffee or ask to hear a story behind one of their photos or possessions. While it may be the move that brought you to them, it doesn’t mean that you can’t take the time to also enjoy their company!

4. Lend an Ear

When we think about helping someone move, often lifting boxes come to mind but sometimes it is the emotional baggage that takes the heaviest toll. 

Leaving a well-loved home behind can bring up a range of emotions, so both during and after the move be sure to check in on your family member to see how they are adjusting to the change. While checking on them in-person is best, a phone call or video call is also a wonderful option if you are too far to pop in. 

5. Ask What You Can Do

It’s easy to assume what your family member needs help with, but you’ll never know 100% unless you ask. 

Have a conversation with them about the move and inquire about how you can help. You may be surprised by their answer! Areas that you think they need a hand may be taken care of, while other areas might greatly benefit from your help or expertise.

With your assistance, elderly family members can relive moments of their past, while getting ready for a future in their new home. Change is never easy, but a little help goes a long way!

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