How to Help Your Elderly Parent Prepare to Move

Moving is challenging and stressful, even under the best of circumstances.  A move from the family home to their retirement home can be fraught with emotion and uncertainty, even if it was their idea to make the change. It can also put you in the unusual position of being not only the child – but also the move manager.


Helping your senior parents through this transition can be a very emotionally charged process for everyone involved. Here are some tips to help you and your parents make a more harmonious transition:


1. Keep Routines Intact

In the push to do sorting and packing, make sure your parents don’t neglect everyday routines, such as meal times, medication schedules, and sleeping.  Keeping their routine allows them to feel more in control of the situation as well as healthy, rested, and alert enough to help and make decisions through the process.


They may feel obligated to skip social engagements or volunteer activities to stay home and get the job done; however, it could be just the refreshing break they need. Encourage them to stay engaged with their friends and activities both before and after the move.


2. Keep a Visible Calendar of Important Dates and Milestones

A large, paper calendar should be displayed in a central location to help them (and you) stay aware of important dates and appointments. Add notes and to-do lists to track progress for the move, such as decluttering sessions, deposits due or contract signing.


It also helps them track the time as the move day approaches. While it’s important to complete the physical tasks associated with the move, it’s also important to be aware of their feelings surrounding the move. Seeing a timetable can help them emotionally prepare for the move.


3. Take Pictures

Taking photos not only records memories, it helps in the move. If there is an arrangement or grouping that is especially sentimental, a photo will help you recreate that same design in their new home.  This adds to their comfort level, as they will be able to see that they will still have many of the same things that were so special to them.


Moving to a retirement home also means less space and letting go of some treasured possessions. Whether it’s roses in the flower garden or a special china cabinet, you can print out photos and keep them in an album for them to reflect upon and enjoy later.


4. Eat, sleep, and exercise

While it’s important that Mom and Dad stay on their schedule, make sure to take time for your schedule as well. It’s tempting to ignore your own workout routine or work schedule to help them get everything done that is required for their move.  It only takes a few days to feel the effects. Try to get at least six hours of sleep, avoid fast food or grab ‘n’ go meals (crock pot and insta-pot recipes abound!), and include some gentle stretching or a brisk walk to help you manage the stress of the move.


5. Discuss Plan Changes in Advance

Even the best laid plans can have delays or setbacks. Keeping a positive attitude and being present when your parents are meeting with vendors or service providers will help keep miscommunication and misunderstandings to a minimum.


Be clear about changes as soon as you know. Your parent may assume that a delay means they won’t be able to move at all when it only means a slight date adjustment.


6. Hire Harmony to help move your parents

Our professionally trained staff at Harmony understands there’s more to a senior move than packing up belongings.  Leaving a long-time home and memories can be difficult for the entire family. The concept of sorting through years of possessions, planning for a new environment, and processing the idea of moving can be overwhelming. Add the time pressures of illness or rehab, or a contracted move-by-date and the strain intensifies.


Harmony Senior Relocation Services is eager to help your family manage this transitional time in your lives. We are experienced professionals, and love to work with families like yours to make the transition positive and enjoyable!  Contact Harmony today.  We’d love to help orchestrate your move:

Leave a Reply