This is it! This is a time for celebration. Of course, this is also the time for work. Perhaps you’ve been busy assisting the elder in your life in downsizing and selecting an exciting new housing situation, and now it’s just about time for the big move. Although this can feel daunting for them and for you, there’s no reason to worry. By breaking the larger task into small workable pieces, you both might just find yourselves enjoying the journey and reveling in the excitement of this new chapter.
Consider the Senior’s New Space
Whether relocating due to the need for elder health care or simply because an active adult living community seems the perfect place to make new friends and embrace retirement, helping your loved one picture how he or she wants the new space to feel and look will set you both on the path to a successful transition.
Consider Size and Amenities
Size: If your mom, dad, aunt or grandfather is moving from a 2,000 square foot house to a New York loft inspired studio apartment, it’s going to be especially important to weigh her or his desired lifestyle when planning what to take to the new space. For instance, if art is what sets her heart afire, be sure to keep that full sized easel she uses regularly as well as some favorite pieces for décor. If writing letters to far flung family and loved ones is what keeps him feeling connected, save room at the new place for his beloved desk. The more these passions and instilled habits can continue to be a priority in the new daily routine, the happier your loved one may be in the long run.
Amenities: What amenities duplicate or mirror your loved one’s favorite hobbies or possessions? If there’s a game room complete with pool table, card table and board games stacked floor to ceiling, perhaps your family member can let go of her private game collection or share them via the community collection. Or, if there’s an onsite golf course, hanging on to those clubs might just turn into a fun necessity.
Create an Outline of the New Place
Ask the site coordinator or manager for a printed floorplan complete with accurate measurements of the new living space, or if that’s not possible, make a simple sketch. Use this blueprint to create an initial plan that denotes placement of furniture as well as blocked areas such as doors, appliances, built-ins, etc. Study this floorplan with a discerning eye, and in the case of small spaces, consider prioritizing furniture that does double duty.
If pets are relocating with your senior, ensure there’s a plan in place for them as well. This may mean designating space for a dog bed or litter box, or even creating an outdoor nook on a private porch or deck for fun and frolicking. Knowing the community’s pet guidelines will go a long way in smoothing the transition as well. For instance, some 55 and older communities for rent require dogs to be in strollers when inside common areas and hallways.
*Refill Prescriptions: Consider asking for refills up to two weeks early to ensure your loved one has what she needs, when she needs it, even if you’re both busy with the move.
Set a date to switch utilities such as water, gas, electricity and trash pick-up service from the current house to the new living accommodations if necessary.
In addition to turning in a change of address to the post office, be sure to let your elder’s bank and magazine providers know the new mailing address, as well as any others who may need notification.
Mark Key Boxes "Open First"
Consider marking boxes with key items you know your loved one will immediately need or want as “open first.” These could include bedroom and bathroom items or favorite framed photos.
Ask for Help
Remember you’re not alone. If you need help, just ask. You may be surprised at how many friends and family members who are ready to assist if only they knew what to do. If this idea makes you uncomfortable, consider leaning on the professionals, whether that means contacting our office to we can help find the perfect housing fit for your loved one or hiring a moving company to do the literal heavy lifting. There’s no reason for you and your family member to carry all of the emotional or physical weight.
Change can being challenging even when its positive. Some seniors adjust more quickly than others – fully embracing new 55 senior living communities and the associated opportunities. Others may experience sadness or grief while they transition. Consider checking in regularly, especially at the onset. You, more than anyone, will know what they need whether it’s a cup of tea and an opportunity to verbalize concerns or take-out from that favorite neighborhood Italian restaurant.
We’d love to hear from you! For answers to all your questions or to set up a visit, get in touch with us today.