Confessions of a Compulsive Organizer

Remember to Take It Slow When Helping Your Elderly Parents Move

by Ricardo Hart

Downsizing and moving into a smaller home can be a big challenge for elderly individuals. If your parents have decided to finally downsize, they are probably going to need your help. It takes a lot of work to move, and can also be an emotional process if your parents have lived in the same home for years. Here are a few tips to help make the moving and downsizing process easier on your parents. 

Be Patient and Kind

The first thing that you need to make sure you remember throughout the entire moving process is to be patient and kind. Your parents made a big decision when they decided to downsize. 

For your parents, this is about more than moving. It is about admitting that this stage of their life is over, and that they are moving on to a new stage, in a smaller home and a new location. It is a huge transition, like when you went off to college or when you moved in with your partner for the first time. 

Keep that in mind as you assist your parents with the moving process. Sometimes, they may need a little extra time to make decisions related to the move, because this is a huge transition for them, and that is okay. Your parents may not say it, but they will appreciate your patience. 

Talk It Out

Make sure you take some time to sit down together and really discuss the downsizing and moving process. Talk with your parents about how much time they will need to get ready to move. 

You can set a goal with your parents for them to go through one small area of their home, such as a desk or a particular cabinet, every day. Since your parents are going to be moving into a smaller home, it is important that they take the time to go through their belongings and decide what they want to come with them as they make this transition.

Your parents, however, may not have the same energy and strength level to power straight through the downsizing process anymore. They may only be able to do a little bit each day, both emotionally and physically, and that is okay. Moving for elderly parents can often be a process that takes a couple of months. Work with your parents to set small daily goals, and ask if there is any area of the home they would like help with. 

Remember to be patient with your parents throughout the moving process, and take some time to sit down with them and develop a moving plan. Your elderly parents are probably going to need more time than you would to go through their belongings. Make sure you respect this process and are sensitive to their emotions about this big change and are also sensitive to their physical limitations as well.  For assistance, look into hiring some household movers.