For many of us, at some point in our lives, there will come a time when we have to help an elderly loved one downsize and move to a new, more appropriately sized home or go to an assisted living facility to have the kind of support they need. Senior moves can be time-consuming, physically demanding, and emotionally draining.



Moving from your beloved home to a distant and unfamiliar place is enough to cause anyone to feel stressed or grieved. This is why it is best to have a plan in place and follow some time-proven advice for moving elderly loved ones.



Whether you intend to do it yourself or hire a local moving company, here are ten tips to help you make the transition go smoothly.



Tip #1: Plan Ahead



Before beginning the packing, downsizing, and organizing process, it’s a good idea to start with a plan. If you can look at the new home’s floorplan, you can get an idea of how much space there will be for furniture and other things. This will help your elderly loved one figure out what they need to dispose of, give away, or sell.



Another benefit of looking at the new floorplan is you can plan out where the furniture and things will go ahead of time. Deciding where to put the furniture and what purpose each room will have can help eliminate that feeling of newness and bring a sense of commitment and closure.



Tip #2: Downsize



The next tip is one that can be the most emotional and stressful, but it is oftentimes necessary. Downsizing with the least stress involves following a few steps.



First, help your loved one go through their things slowly and deliberately. If there are items they obviously don’t care about or want to get rid of, then add them to the list of things to dispose of. Then, they can decide what they most want or need and keep those on a separate list.



For the rest of the items, help them decide if some should be given away to friends or family, sold at a yard sale, or simply disposed of. Doing this task carefully and methodically can help seniors feel a sense of peace about downsizing.



Tip #3: Make a List



For organization and planning purposes, help your loved ones make a list of the essential things they are bringing with them to their new home. At a minimum, this list should include all the large pieces of furniture and most vital belongings. If you can fit everything on this list, that is even better.



Making a list can help you ensure that nothing is forgotten when your loved one leaves or when they arrive. Additionally, it will help them when it comes time to unpack, as the list can be organized by the room or location where the item will go in the new home.



Tip #4: Start Big



Before packing things, start with the biggest items in the house and help your loved one decide what needs to be brought to the new home and what can stay behind. Having done that, it is a good idea to begin the packing process with these large pieces of furniture.



Starting packing with big things like dressers, beds, sofas, tables, and chairs, can help clear large areas of the house quickly and help your loved one feel a sense of progress.



Tip #5: Pack One Room at a Time



When packing up everything, to avoid that feeling of endless work, it is best to pack up one room or part of a room at a time. Start in the least-used rooms and work your way into the most lived-in spaces.



After each box is packed in each room or area, add descriptive labels, so you know what those things are and where they will go in the new home.



Tip #6: Consider Hiring a Professional Packing Crew



If you have a bit of spare cash and would rather have someone else do the packing work, hiring a professional packing crew is a good choice. 



With years of experience, professionals can expertly pack fragile things like dishes into boxes or large objects like furniture into the moving truck. Also, hiring a crew will save you time if you can’t take days off from work to help your loved one pack up their belongings.



Tip #7: Plan for the Moving Day



Another essential tip to keep in mind is to plan for the moving day. Make sure everything is set and ready to go the day before. Also, pack a suitcase with some of the essential things your loved one will need in the first few days after arriving at their new home.



Since it will take a little bit for the boxes to be unpacked, you want to make sure they are comfortable and secure during the transition period. This suitcase should have things like clothes, medicine, toiletries, paper products, some dishes, towels, and sheets, a flashlight or nightlight, and a first aid kit.



Tip #8: Keep the Most Important Things and Keep Them Close



Moving into a new home as a senior can be a memory-inducing experience. Going through old things will inevitably bring old memories back. To help your loved one during this time, make sure they keep their most important things close. 



These things might be photographs, objects, clothes, or anything that has sentimental value to them. These items should be kept close and in easily-accessible boxes so your loved one can have them nearby in the new home.



Tip #9: Allow Room for Emotions



One of the most important things to do for your elderly loved ones during this moving time is to allow room for their emotions. Most likely, they have spent decades in this home, making memories and living their best days. Leaving it will cause grief. There are a few things they can do, however, to bring closure.



Help your loved one write a letter to the new owners of their home, take photos of the house before you pack everything up, and help them feel at peace about the move. Tell them it’s okay to cry a little, that they should rest throughout the process, and get a good night’s sleep before the moving day.



Tip #10: Hire a Professional Moving Company that can Handle the Entire Move



Our final tip for moving elderly loved ones is to consider hiring a professional moving company that can handle every aspect of the move or even just the parts you don’t want to tackle yourself.



For seniors in the Charleston, SC area, Smooth Move offers moving services for those who want to pack everything themselves and just need help transporting their belongings, or a full-service option where we will pack your things, transport them, and unpack them for you. Get in touch with our pros to get a quote today.