Moving anyone at any time can be stressful. The stress of moving seniors and downsizing to a smaller space, in addition to normal anxiety and tension of any move, is a recipe for headaches and contention. What can you do to minimize the stress of moving seniors? You can follow a few tips for organization and implement a plan for maximizing memories.
When you are moving seniors, you are dealing with more than furniture and knick knacks. So the first, best approach is to organize. What do you need for the new place and what you do have that will fit? Start with the big items: beds, couches, tables, dressers. Patio furniture.
Then move to a category: pictures, kitchen appliances and dining ware. Linens. Cover each category in turn, focusing on that category until you have it well covered.
Before you begin the process, work to hit consensus. Be aware of the sentimentality of accessories, and acknowledge how difficult it can be for someone to let go of things that have been a big part of their lives. Decide how you will resolve disagreements and who has the last word. Decide what qualifies you to take a break, and stick to that.
Then, as you go, remember that their memories are the most precious possession most people have, particularly seniors. Where as current generations have taken thousands of pictures, most seniors grew up and lived in a time when pictures were expensive to develop.
Thus, many of their memories are in the old bowl from Great Grandma and in Uncle Cecil’s pipe. You have to honor those memories as you help downsize. You take pictures of the treasured items before distributing them to family members, or — better yet — video your parents or grandparents telling the story of the treasured vase.