When it’s time to move your elderly parents into a smaller home (downsizing) or into a seniors care home or retirement community, it can be unnerving for the entire family. Moving a senior is not the same as moving a young family or a professional urban couple.
Here are some of my expert tips for a stress-free senior’s decluttering and move:
Understand the new dynamic
Firstly, it’s essential to understand the changing dynamic you and your parents are going through. For most of your life, they were your caregivers and supporters, and now the roles are reversed, and you are playing the support role. This role change can be difficult for parents to let go of.
Your parents’ move can affect you too. As you take on more care responsibilities for your parents, it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed or lacking in objectivity. This feeling is normal. You can always get a friend or moving helper to be your support team.
Start small and early
If you suspect your parents will need to move sometime within the next year, start the process early. They likely have large storage rooms or lockers full of keepsakes and items they haven’t wanted to throw away. You can help them go through a little bit at a time to rehome, recycle, or toss items.
If they have items of immeasurable sentimental value, consider taking a video or photographs of these items and adding them to an album. This is a great way to “hold on” to baby and wedding keepsakes and make for great albums for their life’s special moments.
Help with decluttering
Do your parents have lots of knick-knacks in their home? Maybe they have a never-ending thimble or spoon collection? Work with them now to sell or find new homes for these items and collections that are no longer useful or needed. If rehoming or completely removing them from their home is too much, offer to box them up and move them to a storage area.
Decluttering now will also make it easier to stage their home for sale later.
(Your Cleaning Concierge can help with decluttering.)
Get a professional organizer
Sometimes a good first step is to help them organize their home. Hire a professional organizer to help gather and organize items they need every day (like their pantry and clothes closet) and sort items for longer-term storage.
(This is also something that Your Cleaning Concierge can help with)
Be respectful, empathetic, and patient
These three things are perhaps the most important things to remember when moving elderly family members. This will be a very emotionally draining process for everyone so:
- Be respectful of their feelings and belongings.
- Be empathetic and try to imagine how they’re feeling in the moment by being an active listener and focusing on your connection.
- Be patient with them, and don’t be afraid to work at a slower pace if you sense they are overwhelmed.
This applies to you as well! Don’t forget to take care of yourself as you go through this journey with your loved ones.
This might be the most challenging part of moving your parents and helping them declutter or pack up their home. You are likely more objective than they’ll be, but it might not be enough to get the home cleaned and organized for the move.
Get an advocate on your side who has experience moving, cleaning, and decluttering for seniors and can be a 100% objective third party when you need it. Judie and the Your Cleaning Concierge team bring respect, empathy, and patience to your parents’ move.
Call us today to ask about our decluttering and cleaning services for your senior parents.