After you have made the decision to relocate to a senior living community, and have determined an ideal location to enjoy your new freedom, you will face one remaining hurdle: packing up, throwing out, and moving. After all, most of us have accumulated decades of belongings: furniture, clothes, books, housewares, and memorabilia of every kind. Where do you begin? Here are a few proven strategies that you can use to make the task less daunting.
Get over the dread by getting help
Start by recruiting family members or friends to help you make the initial decisions, because you don’t want to do this by yourself. Many older adults have not moved in 20 or 30 years or even longer. Moving is not only a physical undertaking, it is also an emotionally exhausting chore. The decisions surrounding planning and executing a move can seem too overwhelming to handle alone. At the very least, you need someone to act as a sounding board for your moving strategy. That’s why you need help.
See the end from the beginning
You will be downsizing, and you just won’t have room for everything you own. Start by choosing only the non-negotiable items you must have. These are things like your favorite mementos that cannot be replaced. Do you really need your old lounge chair, or is it time for an upgrade? You will quickly see how much “baggage” you can really live without. Don't keep anything without envisioning how it will fit into your new living space. Resist the temptation to drag along expendable items, like magazines. Objects too valuable to throw away can be given to Goodwill for a tax write-off, or sold at an estate sale. You can even bring in an antique dealer or vintage clothing merchant for your finer things.
Get more help: hire a move coordinator
There is a relocation company in almost every major city, often within real estate firms, that can help you with all the logistics: from preparing your home for sale (including making repairs and landscaping), to packing up and moving - even property appraisals and investing the equity from the sale of your home. When moving day comes, they’ll even be there to help you move in to your senior living community and arrrange everything just like you want it.
Grace Fairbanks, of Zeitlin Relocation Solutions in Nashville, heads up a team that specializes in helping seniors move. According to Grace, “It’s an emotional decision not to want to leave home, but the best advice I can offer is to make the decision while you’re still capable of making it for yourself. And, it normally takes people three to six months to get back into their normal routines, so don’t be discouraged if you hit a few emotional rough spots after your move. It’s absolutely normal.”
Believe it or not, this move that you’re dreading is the beginning of what will probably be the happiest time of your life. You’re moving to an environment designed to meet your physical, mental, emotional and perhaps spiritual needs. You’ll have less responsibility and more time for the people and activities you love. Keep that in mind as you’re deciding if you really need all those shoes or power tools, and you’ll be packed and ready before you know it.