If you ask 100 people, “What has been one of the most stressful events in your life?,” a huge portion of them would include Moving in that list of stressful events. And the longer you’ve been at your current location, which means you’ve accumulated that much more stuff to move, the more stressful moving becomes.
If you add the fact that you’re leaving the home in which you raised your family and have lived in for decades, you can imagine that the stress level might be extremely high. Throw in the thought that downsizing in your senior years means the best years of your life might be behind you, the level of stress caused by moving could be through the roof!
Obviously, reducing stress during a senior move is critical to making the best of that situation. Here are five ways to help reduce senior move stress:
1. Develop a Plan
You’ve heard that “Location, location, location” are the three most important aspects of business success. Well, “Planning, planning, planning” just might be the three most important aspects of stress reduction during the moving process.
Schedule major efforts and meetings on a calendar. Do not take the “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it” approach, because when you get to the entrance ramp to the bridge (your parent!) may not have the strength to cross it.
For a list of all the events to include in your pre-move written plan, read the “Plan and Organize the Move” section here: How to Make the Move a Smoother Transition for Mom and/or Dad
2. Pace Yourself
Start early and don’t try to do too much at once. How early? At least six months to a year. There are so many things to consider and then do during a senior move, you will need lots of time to prepare for the big day.
Remember, your senior move involves loved ones who no longer have the vim and vigor they had when they were younger. Plus, a long planning period helps a person to mentally prepare for and come to terms with the huge change of lifestyle that downsizing brings. Think of a senior move process as a marathon race rather than a 100 yard dash.
3. Knock Out Easy Things Early
Easy decisions and easy work can usually be accomplished quickly. If you complete all of the quick and easy tasks up front, your To-Do list will shrink considerably and make it appear as if there’s not much left to be done. A much shorter list combined with a significant sense of accomplishment should dramatically reduce stress. Then you can focus on the few major remaining tasks in a relaxed state, with plenty of time left to finish them. For example, go through kids’ closets and remove damaged and old toys and clothing, or make a trip to Goodwill with holiday decorations you don’t use or won’t fit in your new home.
4. Find New Resources BEFORE You Move
One of the most stressful things about a senior move is having to adjust to the new patterns of a new lifestyle. Where will I do my grocery shopping? Who will be my doctors in my new city? Where are the closest movie theaters, restaurants, and shopping malls?
Before moving day, take the time to replace and map out the essential services that will be needed after the move. The last thing seniors want to deal with when they first arrive in their new home is to blindly navigate their new surroundings without a road map. If all of the resources needed for a new way of living are in place on day one, then day two, and all days after that, will not include the stress of replacing a previously comfortable and complete lifestyle.
5. Get Help
Don’t hesitate to request assistance from friends and family. That’s what they’re there for. Or better yet, bring a senior move manager on board at the beginning of the process. They have the experience to help you know what steps to take and in what order. This itself will remove a majority of the stress.
Then you’ll be able to sit back and relax throughout the whole ordeal. No stress during a senior move? Priceless!