Moving home is difficult at any age, but it is particularly challenging for elderly people. If you have an elderly relative that is moving home soon, the three tips below should help you help them:
Don't Lose Your Patience
Moving home means much more to an elderly person than simply moving boxes from one house to another. Particularly if they have lived in their current home for a significant period of time, it can often be a very challenging process emotionally. Older people generally have different needs, which only acts to make the moving process more challenging. Therefore, make sure you take the time to plan the process before starting the process.
Everybody loses their physical abilities as they age, and you need to ensure that you plan for this accordingly. Your elderly relative will likely need a lot of help packing their suitcases and boxes, and will become tired quite quickly. As such, you need to ensure that you have the systems, and people, in place to make the move go as efficiently as possible.
With elderly people, it's absolutely imperative that you remain calm and relaxed during the moving process. Rather than becoming frustrated at how slow the process is going, or how difficult it is to move all of their belongings, you need to make sure you do not show this. The reason for this is that elderly people take a lot of pride in themselves and most likely feel bad about the level of assistance they now require. If you lose your patience with them, it will only make them feel worse about the situation.
Don't Try and Do Everything at Once
Moving home is a laborious process and most people want to get it over with as quickly as possible. But whilst this may be fine for younger people, it just isn't feasible for the elderly. Rather than trying to rush the process, make sure you schedule the move to take place over a longer period of time. The best way to do this is to split the packing and moving into chunks that will give your family member the time they need to come to terms with the process.
Splitting the move into smaller segments will make it easier for your elderly relative and will stop them from becoming frustrated. From a physical perspective, it will also allow them time to rest between moving their belongings and ensure that they aren't overworking themselves trying to keep up with the pace.
More importantly, however, scheduling the move to take place over a longer period gives your family member time to adjust to what is happening and will allow them to come to terms with the process of moving home. Whilst it may be easy for a younger person to throw everything in a few boxes and move to the next place, it is difficult for older people, so you need to give them enough time to process their thoughts and feelings.
Don't Underestimate the Difficulties of Downsizing
Chances are your elderly relative isn't moving into a much larger house; rather, they will probably be moving into a much smaller home in order to sell the larger house or to move into a retirement village. The vast majority of older people will welcome this change, particularly if they are alone and their current property feels empty. However, downsizing inevitably means getting rid of a lot of old property, which can be challenging.
The best way to deal with downsizing is to make sure your elderly relative knows what to expect and has plans in place for discarding of their property. You should take action early in the process to help them with this. Whether it's contacting local charities to see what you can donate, or going through old photo albums and condensing them into one, make sure the decluttering process is well thought through before you get started.