Relocating an Elderly Parent: 5 Simple Steps to Low-Stress Moving

September 24th, 2012

Moving an elderly relative from a beloved family home to a new residence requires more than a moving truck. Saying good-bye to a much-loved home and packing a lifetime of family treasures requires diplomacy, tact and careful planning.

Our years of experience in sorting, packing and moving literally thousands of boxes has taught us five simple steps for successfully relocating an older relative.

  1. Get Everyone on Board
    Family unity is essential for smooth sailing. Have an initial family meeting to discuss all estate-executor matters and options for downsizing and relocation. Next, decide what special items, such as furniture, art, jewelry, etc., each family member, friend or charity will inherit. Be sure to decide on a central location for important documents. Keep the channels of communication open during the process; consider designating a point person for specific tasks. If family dynamics are challenging, deputize a hired professional to navigate the process.
  2. Tackle the Paper
    Paper builds up over the course of a lifetime, however much of it is unnecessary. After securing essential papers such as a will and medical, financial, and insurance documents in a safety-deposit box or fireproof safe, clear out papers that you don’t need, shredding anything that could lead to identity theft. Preserve memorabilia such as letters, diaries and scrapbooks that have sentimental value. Toss all remaining paper.
  3. Preserve Family Treasures
    A life-well lived produces valuable memorabilia worth preserving. Consider organizing photos and keepsakes by family member or friends. Also, digitizing photos/videos and scanning important documents allows multiple family members to share memorabilia. Encourage your elderly parent or relative to begin to part with mementos and photos even before the move. Sharing beloved keepsakes forges family bonds.
  4. Declutter the Home
    Readying a family home for sale requires a massive decluttering. Often an elderly relative has years of accumulated belongings filling closets, the attic and garage. After family members have retrieved personal items, a thorough inventory must be made of the house’s contents. Tag items that will accompany your relative to their new home, all other items must be sold, donated or claimed by family members. Work with your broker to understand how to best stage the home for sale; a decluttered, pristine home sells far faster than a cluttered, time-worn space.
  5. Create a Welcoming New Home
    Make your relative feel at home in their new space by unpacking and decorating with familiar items. Help speed acclimation with thoughtful space planning and by displaying family treasures that provide a sense of continuity and comfort. Take pains to elder-proof the new accommodations to marry independence with maximum safety measures.

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