5 Tips for Reducing a Senior’s Anxiety About Moving
The process of moving can be exhausting at any age. For older adults, however, moving often takes more than just a physical toll. It can also trigger grief and sadness. This is especially true if the senior will be giving up a home they have lived in for many years and where they raised a family.
The emotional toll of a late life move can make this process a challenge for the senior and their family.
Anxiety about Moving in Retirement Years
Even when the older adult is excited about moving to a retirement community where they will have fewer worries about home maintenance and can take advantage of life enrichment and wellness programs, anxiety can rear its head. As the move draws nearer, stress and anxiety often increase.
Psychologists call this relocation stress syndrome (RSS). It is used to describe the unique difficulties seniors face when a move occurs later in their life.
How can families like yours help a loved one manage relocation stress?
We’ve developed five tips for making this transition go more smoothly.
Making a Smooth Transition to a Retirement Community
- Empower the Senior: When you are busy juggling a parent’s care with your own children’s needs, it’s easy to fall in to the trap of rushing through this decision without including your mom or dad. Unless they have dementia or another illness that prevents them from playing an active role in the process, include them in all decisions. That includes deciding which community to move to, choosing a realtor to sell their home, and figuring out which belongings they will take and which will find a new home with family. Try to balance overwhelming your parent with the little details with helping them feel as if they are still in control of their own life.
- Be Respectful: Remind yourself of the old adage, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” as you begin the process of downsizing. What might look like old clutter to you could be an object they have a sentimental attachment to. Work with the team at their new retirement community to map out what furniture and belongings will fit in each room. Help them find new homes for other treasures that just won’t fit in their new home. Knowing favorite pieces will have a new home with a son or granddaughter, for example, can help ease the anxiety of separation.
- Keep the Familiar: While it might be tempting to buy your mother or father new furniture and accessories, sticking with things that are familiar is important. It can help them feel more at home in a new environment when they can sit in their favorite old chair or curl up under their favorite comforter for a nap.
- Plan for Moving Day: It also helps to have a plan in place for the actual day of the move. Pack a suitcase that contains your senior loved one’s medications, toiletries, and other daily necessities. Then put together a separate supply box filled with items you will need right away, such as the coffee pot and supplies, healthy snacks, cleaning products, trash bags, towels and washcloths. Don’t send either one with the movers. Instead, keep both the suitcase and the box with you in your car as you make your way to the retirement community.
- Sense of Humor: Accept that little things may go wrong as you downsize and prepare for this transition. Try to be patient with one another and laugh off the small inconveniences. These will be hectic days! But if you’ve done your research and made an informed choice, your senior loved one will be thriving before long.
Resources for Downsizing in Seattle
If you are looking for a retirement community in Seattle, Era Living has eight communities throughout the area. We also have a variety of moving and downsizing resources you will find helpful. From creating a floor plan for your new home to locating Seattle moving vendors, we can help your family make a smooth transition.