Moving from a home that you have lived in for decades to a smaller apartment in a senior retirement community or assisted living community can be a daunting task. When it is time for your parents to make that kind of move, they will need your assistance. The following are some tips adapted from About.com that can help you with this process. You can find the full article at http://moving.about.com/od.
When you know that the move is going to happen, the best advice is to obtain a diagram or layout of the new apartment. Having this information will let you know exactly how much space your parents will have. The communities at Retirement Unlimited, Inc. can provide you with detailed floor plans of the apartments to assist you. Call or stop by for a tour and see what apartment styles are available. With the floor plan or diagram in hand you can decide together what items will fit and how much of their current things can be kept. If feasible, you can offer to keep the items that they can’t move or try to at least keep them in the family.
When you know how much space you will have to move in to, then begins the task of sorting the items that they currently have. Be gentle during this process. Many of us have made emotional attachments to items we may seldom use. If the item is truly a treasure to them, you can suggest giving the item as a gift to a child or sibling. It is often easier to give things to family members than to donate them to an “anonymous” source.
A great idea is to take pictures of items inside your parents’ home. Be sure to take detailed photos of such things as where photos and mementos have been placed on dressers or where certain pieces of furniture are situated to each other. Even note what pictures, paintings, or mirrors are hanging on the wall. When in the new apartment, try to place the items in a similar way so that the new home will feel more like their previous home. This will help your parents become comfortable more quickly in the new environment.
Above all, take your time. Plan for the move as far in advance as possible. In this way, you can give your parents the time they need to process through the sometimes painful task of parting with their things.
Sometimes, it is easier to hire outside help to pack and move items than it is to do it yourself. It may be easier for your parents to work with an outside person rather than family. There are many companies that specialize in moving seniors and assisting with downsizing. The professionals at Retirement Unlimited, Inc. have a world of resources to share regarding downsizing. Give a call to a community near you for some helpful information.
Finally, be patient with your parents and allow them to say “goodbye” to their things. If they take longer to sort through a bureau drawer because they uncover old photographs, let them spend the time to remember and if possible, share those memories with them. The reminiscing is a very important part in the process of moving from their home of decades into their new environment.
The retirement and assisted living communities of Retirement Unlimited, Inc. understand this difficult process and can work with you and your parents to make the transition into one of our communities a good experience. Call us for more information, or better yet come in for a tour and see what we have to offer.