Moving Tips for Seniors
Making a move at any age can be difficult and stressful. After 30, 40, or even 50 years in a home, the process of rightsizing and relocating to a new home can be overwhelming.
Having attained the National Association of Senior Move Managers’ highest achievement, A+Accreditation, Moving Forward is a highly-qualified Senior Move Manager who specializes in helping older adults and their families through the daunting process of transitioning to a new residence. We’ve seen it all and are here to help.
Over the next few weeks, we will explain the Top 10 Reasons Seniors Decide It’s Time to Move:
10. Home Is No Longer a Safe Place to Live—According to the CDC, in 2015 alone, more than one in four older adults reported falling and more than 28,000 older adults died as a result of falls—that’s 74 older adults every day or one every 20 minutes—and these numbers are going up. Tripping hazards (piles around the house / throw rugs), reduced vision, reduced strength and balance, and medications can all increase a person’s risk of falling. Many of these factors can be worked on at home, but our clients tell us that sometimes a new, safer home is a better option.
9. Too Much Stuff—Everyone likes to get new things. Whether it’s because it’s a good deal or because it might be more valuable someday or because we might or did need it or because it has sentimental or emotional value, we all add to our collections on a regular basis. Once we own it, it’s hard to get rid of, and in many cases, something that is ours feels like it has more value than it really does. (This is a phenomenon researchers call Sunk Cost Bias.) Not only does the sunk cost bias make it difficult to let things go, but getting rid of things takes physical and mental time and energy. In many cases, we store those things in the basement or the garage or the attic or in stacks in the living room until we’re ready to sort through them, and our items just keep piling up, filling up as much free space as we have. At Moving Forward, our clients tell us that having an independent third party who does not have emotional attachments to their things and who is compassionate, knowledgeable, experienced, and efficient in sorting, selling, and donating large amounts of all kinds of stuff (we’ve seen it all!) can be a blessing and a huge relief.
8. Memory Issues Make Living Alone Unsafe —According to the World Health Organization, Dementia is a syndrome, usually of a chronic or progressive nature, caused by a variety of brain illnesses that affect memory, thinking, behavior, and ability to perform everyday activities. The number of people living with dementia worldwide is currently estimated at 50 million and will almost triple by 2050. Whether it’s trying to remember where we left our car keys or trying to figure out if the person on the phone is really from the IRS or is, in fact, a scammer trying to steal our money, our ability to think clearly and remember key facts is important to our capacity for safely interacting with our environments. Our clients tell us that, due to increasing issues with their memories, they sometimes have to make the very difficult decision to move from their homes to a safer home that has support for their memory issues.
7. House and Yard Maintenance—Being a homeowner is wonderful! You can do pretty much what you please, where you please, when you please without having to worry about your neighbors peeking in on you or your bothering your neighbors. Along with all that freedom comes a fair bit of commitment. There is grass to cut and snow to shovel and walls to paint and broken furnaces to fix. Sometimes, all that commitment can get to be too much and can interfere with our living and enjoying our lives. Our clients tell us that one of the biggest reasons they decide to move from their homes to a new home is to reduce the amount of work that needs to be done around the house and that, without all that extra time and energy being put into home maintenance, they can get back to doing what they really want to be doing.
6. Social Life—According to the National Institute on Aging, human beings are social creatures. Our connection to others enables us to survive and thrive. Yet, as we age, many of us are alone more often than when we were younger, leaving us vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness—and related health problems such as cognitive decline, depression, and heart disease. Social isolation and loneliness do not always go together. About 28 percent of older adults in the United States, or 13.8 million people, live alone, according to a report by the Administration for Community Living’s Administration on Aging of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, but many of them are not lonely or socially isolated. At the same time, some people feel lonely despite being surrounded by family and friends. Conversely, people who engage in meaningful, productive activities with others tend to live longer, boost their mood, and have a sense of purpose. These activities seem to help maintain their well-being and may improve their cognitive function, studies show. Many of our clients tell us that their main reason for moving is to surround themselves with more of their peers and to give them easier access to these folks and the many activities communities offer to their residents.
5. The House is Too Big—When we’re younger, and especially when we have children, having a bigger home can be a blessing. Children can be separated from their siblings and/or their parents by putting some upstairs and some downstairs. Having more room (and more rooms) allows everyone to create their own personal spaces throughout the house, and it allows us to keep some things (like laundry or items we want to store) out of sight, perhaps in the basement or the garage. But once the kids move out, many folks find that they don’t need and don’t use all that space, and it can transform from a blessing to a curse. Climbing the stairs to clean 3 upstairs bedrooms can become a physical and mental struggle, and carrying the laundry basket to the basement can take a near-Herculean effort. That’s why many of our clients decide it’s time to downsize to a home that better fits their current lifestyles and needs.
4. Health Issues— According to the National Council on Aging, about 92 percent of seniors have at least one chronic disease and 77 percent have at least two. Heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes are among the most common chronic health conditions, and managing each requires physical and mental strength and energy. Whether coming home from the hospital or rehab, performing daily tasks like cooking and cleaning that are more difficult to do with the limitations of a chronic health condition, or performing even more basic daily activities like bathing and dressing, it can be exhausting. Sometimes our own health conditions create the challenges, and sometimes it’s the health conditions of our spouses or loved ones. Either way, having someone to help with these hurdles can be a huge relief. A good number of our clients decide it’s time to move from their homes to a new place with staff who can help manage the day-to-day demands of chronic health conditions, freeing the seniors up to spend more time doing the things they love to do.
3. Closer to Family—When we’re younger, many of us move away from home in order to pursue a better job, a better climate, or a better lifestyle. For other folks, their children may live in other parts of the country for similar reasons. In many of these situations, it’s the desire for something new and exciting that drives the transition, but with time, many of us realize the most precious things in our lives are our families. Whether is eating together or watching our kids’ and grandkids’ sporting events or school plays, experiencing those events with the ones we love has more value than anything else in the world. That’s why a number of our clients decide to relocate to new homes closer to their families, giving them better access to the things that bring them joy and matter most.
2. Not Eating Well—According to the American Journal of Nursing, older adults are at risk for compromised nutritional status because of physical changes associated with aging, as well as cognitive, psychological, and social factors such as dementia, depression, isolation, and limited income. Malnutrition negatively affects quality of life, increases health care costs, and increases the risk of short-term mortality. Things don’t quite taste as good, and they take a lot of effort to prepare, especially for one or two people. To make it more complicated, many chronic health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol require special diets which can be even more difficult to make. Sometimes it takes a professional chef with her creative culinary talents in order to prepare healthy meals that taste good. That’s why many of our clients who understand the link between good nutrition and a good life tell us they are moving from their homes to communities that can provide and monitor their meals. It also provides folks with an opportunity to eat in a more social setting which enhances their appetites and brings more pleasure to their lives.
1. Need Some Help—When we’re younger, we don’t think anything of getting up in the morning, making breakfast, taking a shower, driving to the gym for a quick workout, driving to work, working 8-10 hours, driving home for dinner, driving to our daughter’s basketball game, driving back home, catching up on the news and emails, getting ready for bed, and falling asleep. We do it every day, so we take our ability to do it for granted. It’s what everyone does, right? Unfortunately, as many of us get older, we find it to be more and more difficult to do all these things, each and every day. Sometimes, mobility limitations make it more difficult to get in and out of bed or in and out of the shower. Sometimes shopping for and preparing meals is not worth the hassle. Sometimes we just don’t want to or can’t safely drive any longer. Whatever the issue, in some cases, having a person (or people) available to help with these challenges can be liberating. Our clients commonly tell us that moving from their homes to communities with assistance services lifts a significant burden off their lives, allowing them to participate in activities they might not otherwise have been able to enjoy and freeing them up to spend more time doing the things they love to do.
Whether it’s organizing, decluttering, or rightsizing, we can help. If you or a family member is considering a move, send us your information through the form below or call today to receive your FREE guide to rightsizing and relocation and to schedule your FREE consultation.