Grace New Zealand Blog

Tomorrow marks the International Day of Older Persons, a day to raise awareness about issues affecting the elderly, so it only seems fitting to write today’s blog post about how to help seniors move.

Moving is a stressful time for anyone, but for elderly people it can be more so, depending on the reasons for moving. Some may be moving closer to relatives, others may be moving to an assisted living facility and others may be downsizing a smaller home that is easier to keep and maintain. Whatever the reason sorting through belongings they have gathered over a lifetime is no easy task. If they have lived in their house for a long time and have many years of memories there, then the whole moving experience can be an emotional roller-coaster for them.

There are, however, many things you can do to alleviate some of this stress:

Plan the move

This may not always be possible, but the longer you give your elderly relative, the better. Sorting through years of accumulated things is difficult and emotionally draining. Allow enough time so that your elderly relative has plenty of time to pack without feeling rushed.

Take small steps

Work together side-by-side, one cupboard and one space at a time. To make it easier, get them to begin in a room that has the least sentimental attachment like the bathroom or laundry.

Don’t take over

It may be tempting to just go in and start throwing things away but remember this is their house and their belongings.

Even if your elderly relative is physically unable to help, ensure they continue to be involved in the packing process. Enlist other family members to help or talk to Grace Removals about hiring professional packers to work to the directions of your relative. Have them sit in a comfortable spot near where you or the packers are working so that they can easily talk to you while you pack.

Similarly, when you arrive at their new home, don’t just start unpacking their things and put them where you think they should go. Ask them where they want you to put things and get them to help with small tasks if possible.

Take Pictures

Change is often difficult for older people. One way to ease this transition is to take photos of their existing home so you can place objects in very similar ways and in the correct rooms of their new home. This can be everything from getting the bedroom furniture laid out in exactly the right way to placing family pictures together in a certain room.

Be Patient

This can be particularly difficult if time is short. Understand that their brain may not be as sharp as it once was, and their response time may be slower. Getting impatient with them won’t get anything accomplished. When things don’t go as well as you would like, put yourself in their shoes, bite your tongue and be as nice as possible. If they make mistakes in their packing or do things in a frustrating way, ignore it.

It’s important to allow them to say goodbye in their own time. Remember, saying goodbye to past memories can be painful. Let your relative go through their belongings and reminisce. Listen to their stories and be patient. It is all part of the moving process.

Hire professionals

Professional removalists make moving easier and less stressful on your elderly relative. As well as packing and unpacking services, removalists can take care of all the heavy lifting so your relative doesn’t have to feel guilty about watching you sweat while they stand by helpless. It also means you will be free to assist your relative during this, sometimes emotional, transition.

Give Grace Removals a call to see how we can make your elderly relative’s move stress free.