Helping an Older Adult Manage Pre-Move Anxiety

Sunrise Senior Living  |  January 12, 2018
Helping an Older Adult Manage Pre-Move Anxiety
Share

Moving can be tough at any age. For seniors, the emotional toll of moving can cause anxiety about relocating and leaving behind their family home. Sometimes, a spouse has passed away, and the house is closely tied to happy memories of the years spent together there. 

Even if you are looking forward to moving to a senior living community and all the life enrichment opportunities it offers, anxiety may still be a factor. As moving day gets closer, stress and anxiety often increase.

What can you do to help your loved one manage move-related stress and anxiety?

We have a few suggestions to help you and your family through this transition.

Tips to Help a Senior Manage Moving Anxiety

Psychologists call the anxiety a senior feels about moving relocation stress syndrome (RSS). This term is used to describe the unique challenges an older adult faces when they are making a move.

Here are five tips:

  1. Be respectful: As you work through the process of downsizing and relocating, be respectful of the sentimental attachment your loved one might have for certain belongings. While it might look to you like something that should be pitched, forcing them to part with treasured mementos can increase their anxiety. You may need to box a few things up and place them in your garage until you find a place for them in the senior’s new apartment or villa.
  2. Work from a plan: Ask the team at the senior living community if they have floor plans for the new space. This can help you determine what furniture and belongings will fit in each room. At Sunrise communities, for example, we have interactive floor plans that allow you to move furniture around to design their new space.
  3. Find homes for treasures: It might also help to find new homes for a senior’s cherished items within the family or with a close friend. Think about those who are close to your family member’s heart and what items they might enjoy receiving.
  4. Make the new space familiar: Families are often tempted to buy new furniture and décor for a loved one who is making a transition. But for the senior, sticking with familiar things is important during this time when everything is changing. Having their favorite chair to curl up in next to their old, familiar end table and lamp can make the new space feel like home faster.  
  5. Sense of humor: Finally, head into this process knowing things will go wrong along the way no matter how carefully you prepare. Make a pact to try to laugh off the small inconveniences and work together to solve the bigger ones. While the days might be quite hectic, remind yourself it is an opportunity to spend meaningful family time together.

Making a Smooth Transition

We know downsizing can be daunting. That’s why we created this colorful graphic that highlights the dos and don’ts of helping a senior loved one downsize in preparation for a move to a senior living community.

The Quick Buy Program by Moving Station might be another helpful tool for you. Moving Station is a Sunrise partner that assists seniors with selling a home and offers a comfortable transition, allowing you to settle into your new lifestyle with ease.