Tips for Moving into a Retirement Home

As movers, we understand that any move can be extremely stressful. And having to transition a parent or loved one into senior living is no easy feat. Not only do you have the pressure of deciding what they can or can’t take, but you also have the emotional aspects of such a move. It’s a tough time for everyone involved, as it’s not an easy decision to make, and tempers can run high.

So, if you’re panicking about what to pack and what to leave behind, we’re here to say: Take a deep breath. Relax for a few minutes. Regroup. And take a look at these tips we have to offer for helping your loved one move into a retirement home.

  • Start planning as early as possible.

If you haven’t done this already, this is your best bet for the first step. Grab a notebook and a pen and start jotting down any questions or thoughts you may have. What will the senior living facility allow in terms of personal belongings? Will you have to hire a moving truck? Will you have to donate odds and ends that can’t be brought to the nursing home? These are all questions to help you start thinking about all the little things.

  • Start small.

Moving a loved one into a retirement home or senior living facility can seem like a daunting task. Take small steps, and if everything seems overwhelming, take a step back so you can focus on the steps you need to take.

  • Focus on the positives.

You and your loved one made this choice for a reason, and that reason is usually a better quality of life. You’ve put your trust in the retirement home, and you believe that they will be a more secure provider. Remind yourself of this whenever you feel doubtful about making the right decision.

  • Be realistic about your goals.

Your loved one probably has 50 years of memories throughout their current home. Don’t expect yourself to go through all of it in one day. It’s going to take time, and that’s okay.

  • Set deadlines for everything that needs to be done.

By setting deadlines, you and your family can hold yourselves accountable. Deadlines will also help you arrange for any services you may need to hire, such as a moving company or donation pickups from your local Habitat for Humanity.

  • Take care of the important stuff early on.

Make a checklist for yourself of everything your loved one will need for their transition, such as putting your hands on important documents (power of attorney papers, medical records, military records, diplomas, birth certificates, or even passports). Don’t forget about any medication they have or might need, and transfer scripts when needed. You’ll also want to update their address and submit for mail forwarding.

  • Make arrangements for pets.

If your loved one’s destination allows pets, such as cats or smaller dogs, make sure they have everything they need. But be sure to ask the community ahead of time what their rules are for animals. If they don’t allow animals, make sure to make arrangements for adoption ahead of time.

  • Have fun and talk it out.

This is a huge transition in your loved one’s life, and they may be feeling scared or anxious about the move. Let them talk out their worries or concerns, and be ready to help them find the answers to their questions. Sometimes, making the experience fun (and maybe even nostalgic) can help ease everyone’s anxieties.

Downsizing is a huge part of the process, and it’s often the most daunting task of moving. More often than not, folks making the journey into retirement homes or senior living have to downsize. Here are our top tips for downsizing:

  • Start with the unsentimental stuff.

It’ll be easier to start actually going through all their items if you start with the stuff that doesn’t hold sentimental value. We particularly like Marie Kondo’s take on accumulated junk: If it doesn’t give you joy, why keep it? Try and articulate that item’s purpose in your life. That, of course, doesn’t mean you should start throwing away every little thing! Just be sure to give thought to the items you’re sorting through.

  • Visit the new living arrangement.

Try to spend some time in the new community and, more importantly, in your new living space. Try to imagine what objects you can see in that space, where you will put them, or what will fit where. This can help you really decide which items you want to keep or donate.

  • Don’t immediately throw away your things.

Instead, set them aside and see if you truly notice their absence. You never know; you may find yourself enjoying life with fewer things! And if you do decide to dispose of an item, try to donate it or find a new home for it instead of letting it wind up in a landfill.

Again, we understand that the decision to move a loved one into a retirement home can be a tough one to make. It can be emotional for everybody involved, so don’t be afraid, enjoy all the memories while sorting through items, and take it one day at a time. If you decide you need moving services to help get your loved one’s belongings to the new living arrangements, be sure to call the Rabbits for all of your Charleston moving needs!

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