When it comes to moving with senior citizens, safety, comfort, and ease are all high on the list of priorities, even when you’re making a local move. Perhaps you’re moving your elderly parents, or you’re a senior yourself in need of moving advice. Whether the relocation is to move closer to family or downsize for the golden years, there’s a lot to accomplish, which is why we’ve developed this detailed checklist for moving with seniors.
Completing each of the following key steps will make your move with a senior or as a senior much more manageable.
Use This Timeline as An Overview of What Needs to Be Done and When
This first section will provide an overview, prioritized by time, so you can ensure you’re checking off the most crucial steps on your moving to-do list. Knowing what to do and when to do it will help keep you on target so you or your elderly family member will be ready to go on moving day. If you have less than two months’ notice, you can adapt this checklist to your own time constraints and work a little faster. That said, the earlier you start, the better.
Two Months Before the Move
Check for mobility-friendly features. You or your elderly family members will need to be able to get around in the new home without limitations. Make sure the home is designed with mobile accessibility in mind. Even if there aren’t any mobility issues now, you’ll want to think about the future when going upstairs or stepping into a bathtub may become more challenging. These days, even young homebuyers avoid purchasing two-story homes that will be inconvenient as they age.
Having an easily accessible shower is another feature savvy buyers look for. Not only is a one-story home with at least one walk-in shower preferable for seniors, but you may also want the new home to be further optimized for seniors with handicap accommodations such as wheelchair access and bathtub handlebars.
Obtain moving quotes. Get moving estimates as soon as possible, so you’ll know what to expect as far as cost. A reputable moving company will conduct either an in-person or video walk-through, which will be much more accurate than a phone interview. There’s a lot to consider when getting moving estimates, but the most important tip of all is to get an in-person or virtual video quote. Telephone interviews are notorious for being the most unreliable form of moving estimate. Being prepared with an accurate estimate of the cost will prevent any unpleasant financial surprises on moving day. A reputable mover will offer to either have someone visit your home in person or walk through it with you virtually, using a process similar to Facetime or a Skype call.
Declutter and organize belongings. Preparing for a move is always a great time to remove excess clutter and moving with seniors often involves downsizing their possessions. This challenging but important step will help prevent you from transporting any unwanted items to the new location.
Understandably, parting with excess belongings can be difficult for seniors, especially when they’ve carried those items with them for decades. Be patient and be sure to involve them in decisions about decluttering their personal belongings. With the most sentimental items, handing them down to family members might be easier for them than donating them to charity. Go easy on yourself and your family member during this sensitive part of the moving process.
Book your moving company. Movers get booked quickly during peak seasons, which is why it’s essential to reserve your desired moving company as early as possible. Timelines can be up in the air for a while if the move involves the sale of a house but schedule your movers just as soon as you know the date of the move. Putting off this step for too long could prevent you from getting the exact dates you want.
One Month Before
Make a list of what is going. Once you’ve discarded or donated any unnecessary items, it will be time to make a list of those essential items that will be taken to the new home. This inventory list will also help you estimate how many boxes you will need.
Confirm moving arrangements. Double-check your moving arrangements to confirm the exact date and time of your move. Make sure you’ve communicated this important information to all parties involved.
Start packing. Purchase packing materials such as boxes, tape, scissors, packing materials, colored labels, and permanent markers. Pack valuables and important documents first, so they don’t get misplaced or left behind. People often underestimate the time it will take to pack, so get started as early as possible by packing rarely used items first. If packing yourself, chip away at the job by packing several boxes per day, speeding up if necessary, as moving day approaches.
Touch base with physicians. Schedule doctor’s appointments or make some phone calls to touch base with your senior household member’s current healthcare providers. During these doctor visits or phone calls, you can make sure prescriptions are up to date as well as discuss any safety precautions that need to be taken during the move.
Refill prescriptions and change pharmacies if needed. If your senior is moving to a new locale, it may be necessary to switch their prescriptions to a different pharmacy, depending on the distance of the new home from the old one. Be sure to notify each doctor’s office of the new pharmacy’s name and address so the prescriptions don’t end up being sent to the wrong place.
One Week Before
Get ruthless about packing. If you aren’t paying your mover for packing services, you’ll need to get more serious about packing as moving day approaches. At this point, it’s less about what to pack than what not to pack. Consider putting a few essential items into a suitcase for you or your family member to live out of during those last few days of packing.
Pack prescriptions and other everyday items in an easily accessible place. Small items that are still being used, including medications, can be easy to forget on moving day, so you’ll want to keep those items together to avoid leaving any of them behind. Have a carry-on bag, so to speak, for meds and other small essential items such as glasses and keys that will need to stay easily accessible before, during, and after the move.
Schedule a charity pickup. Many charities are willing to come to pick up your donated items. All you have to do is ask. Having a local charity pick up your donations will be easier on your back and will save you the trouble of dropping off donations yourself.
Forward all mail. If you haven’t already done so, file a change of address form with the U.S. Postal Service. This should be in addition to changing the address individually on correspondence such as bills and insurance policies.
Verify the identity of the movers. Unfortunately, seniors are often the targets of scams. When the movers arrive on the big day, check identification and look for company logos to ensure you are dealing with the right people.
Complete a walk-through of the home. Do a walk-through of the property before leaving with your real estate agent or property manager to make sure they document that the home was left in good condition. This is also the time to make sure everything important has been removed from the premises. Leave keys and garage door openers with the property manager or real estate agent or in the house for the new owners.
Review and sign all moving documents. Read the fine print and discuss any questions you have with the movers before you sign on the dotted line.
Keep your packing plan and inventory list with you to help you find everything on the other end. At the very least, remember that the boxes you packed last are the ones you’ll want to open first when you arrive at the new home.
Whether you’re the one moving with the help of your family or you’re moving an elderly family member, it’s important to keep everyone informed throughout the process. As you help plan for the new living arrangements and the logistics of the move, keeping everyone in the loop will help prevent misunderstandings during a sometimes emotional time. Senior housing options discussed may include nursing homes, retirement communities, or perhaps just a smaller space. Once the new location has been determined, you will also want to address the senior’s concerns about how things will be packed as well as their travel arrangements. Seniors may need a lot of help, but like everyone, they still want to feel in control of their own lives.
Visit the New Home
If possible, visit the new home often, beginning a couple of months before the move. This will give you enough time to determine whether the home is right for your elderly family member. Ideal senior living accommodations to look for should include universal design for mobility, such as bathtubs with handlebars and wheelchair ramps where needed. Onsite nursing staff may also be a consideration, depending on the senior’s level of dependence. If your senior is moving into an assisted living community or long-term care facility, you’ll want to drop in to make sure you’re comfortable with the staff and how they operate.
Research Moving Companies
Especially when moving seniors, it is vital to research the companies you are considering for the move. Movers who are reputable and experienced with working with seniors can be trusted to be polite and courteous and accommodate any special needs that may arise along the way.
Arrange for Medical Needs
As we age, healthcare and prescriptions become a big part of our lives, which is why it’s important that you or your elderly family member has a plan for staying healthy during this transition.
Be sure to contact all healthcare providers well in advance of the move if there will be a change to new providers in the new neighborhood. Doctors and dentists may need some time to forward records to the new providers, so notify everyone on both ends.
From packing medication somewhere easily accessible to researching providers in the new area, healthcare should remain a top priority throughout the transition to the new home. Take the time to set everything up in advance to ensure a smooth healthcare transition for you or your elderly family member.
Book Your Moving Company
It’s important to book your movers in advance. If you wait too long, you’ll run the risk of not getting the dates you want. Not only that but booking your movers in advance will give you a firm deadline that will help motivate you to complete your to-do list on time.
Handle All Mail and Bills
At least one week before the move, you’ll want to contact all necessary parties about the change of address. You can also save time by filling out a change of address form on the USPS website.
Declutter and Organize
Take inventory of all items and determine which items are essential or valuable. Sorting through everything can be a big job, and there are lots of decisions to make, so it may be helpful to get the whole family or some close friends involved in this step.
Have valuable items you’re considering selling or donating appraised to determine their exact value. These items may include fine dishware, antiques, and original artwork. An appraisal will also help you determine whether an item is worth selling and give you an idea of each unique item’s value for insurance purposes. If you’re keeping the valuables, you’ll be sure to wrap them with newspaper, cloth, or bubble wrap and mark them as fragile to protect them during the move.
It’s also a good idea to photograph the current home and all items. Not only could this step end up being important for insurance purposes, but it will provide a reference for what you are packing.
This would be a great time to discard any worn-out items and donate things you or your family member won’t use at the new home. Keep in mind that donatable items in good condition can be picked up by a charity. Schedule that pickup for at least one week before the move.
Make a Plan for Packing and Unpacking
Although packing and unpacking may seem like a no-brainer, it will go much more smoothly when you have an actionable plan. Pack up everyday essentials last and unpack them first. Also, use the inventory list you made during the organizing stage to help determine what kind of packing supplies you’ll need.
Here are some packing tips in case you are packing yourself:
- Purchase plenty of packing materials, including color-coded labels.
- Label boxes clearly with the correct color and room name to let everyone know what goes where.
- Don’t wait until after the move to clean. Clean the home at least a week before the move so you can avoid potential hazards getting in your way on moving day. Also, cleaning the house thoroughly as you pack will help ensure that you don’t forget any small items.
- Consider enlisting the help of a cleaning service so you can focus solely on packing.
If you need additional help, you can arrange for a senior move coordinator to coordinate the often monumental task of packing and unpacking. Leveraging the help of these managers can go a long way toward a smooth move.
Complete the Move
Again, scammers tend to prey on seniors, and when moving day finally arrives, there will be a lot going on. Again, remember to ask for IDs and look for company logos when the moving team arrives. Don’t forget to review all moving documents carefully before signing them. These easy but essential steps will help you avoid moving scams and ensure that your valuables or those belonging to your senior family members will be secure and going with the right people.
Settle in and Relax
Once all of your essential belongings have been moved into the new home, it’s time to settle in and unpack. Use your inventory lists and unpacking plan to check that everything made it to your new home.
After moving your elderly parents or other family members, it’s important to spend some quality time with them after the move and make sure their needs are met. You may also want to introduce them to neighbors and find the nearest grocery store. Perhaps visit that store with them and, if they will live alone, purchase several days’ worth of food so they can relax after the stress of the move.
Make Your Move Manageable with an Experienced Moving Company
Although moving yourself or your elderly love ones is never simple, it can be made easier when you hire a team of experts who are prepared for the task at hand. This is why it’s crucial to select a moving company that’s experienced with moving seniors and that is a good fit for you and your family.
MoveDay prides itself on helping families move successfully during all stages of life. Our move coordinators and local moving experts have the experience and expertise to move seniors to their new homes successfully. Our team is here to answer all of your questions and offer peace of mind throughout the moving process. Read more of our helpful resources and the complete moving services that we offer and reach out for a free moving estimate to begin your successful journey.