Every year, thousands of seniors in the United States make the decision to relocate to a new home. It’s one of the biggest decisions we all face as we get older. But in the midst of making this big life change, it’s important to remember the need to reduce stress that can lead to high blood pressure and other issues.
Why move at all when you’re older? Every person’s story has its own unique twists and turns, but most older people face a handful of issues. One is the realization there are rooms in the house that have gone unused for years. Another is facing yard work that no longer seems doable or having too much stuff in the house. For many, the biggest issue is living too far from family and wanting to move closer.
In some cases, home values also have risen to the point that seniors can do well selling their home and moving to a smaller home. Florida remains one of the top destinations for seniors because of the favorable tax structure, warm weather and wealth of activities. Arizona, North Carolina, Texas and South Carolina have also emerged as hot spots.
Keeping Stress Levels Down While Moving
For older people, especially those who have lived in one place for many years, just the thought of moving can seem daunting. However, keeping these seven ideas in mind can help relieve stress and make the move go easier.
Keep the End Goal in Mind
This is somewhat like the battle to overcome negative thinking. It’s easier to accomplish something if you keep your mind on the end goal and the benefits of moving. That can include more money in your pocket, living closer to loved ones and having an easier to maintain home. While the process can seem challenging at times, keeping in mind what you plan to accomplish can get you through the tough moments.
Start Early, Go Slow
Most of us remember a move from our past when it seems we packed and moved in a matter of a day or two. But that was then, this is now! Most of us have much more stuff than we did in our younger days. Once you’ve decided to move, start the planning process for clearing out your current home one room at a time, starting with the little-used rooms and clutter you plan to give away, sell or put in the trash.
Hire a Professional
A senior move is not a DIY project, so you’ll want to hire a professional moving company. Because so many older people move each year, there also are people who work exclusively with seniors to plan and execute a move. Called Senior Move Managers, you can find out more about what they do through the National Senior Move Managers Association.
Preparing the New Home
Older people tend to have more health issues, it simply comes with the territory. That makes it important to look at potential new homes through the lens of safety. That includes making sure that walkways are easy to navigate, there are few stairs (or none at all), grab bars in the bathroom, elevated toilets and roll-in showers (if necessary), kitchens with easily accessible cabinets, and room for a special bed if you use one.
Build a Social Network
This is as important, if not more so, than any practical issue. Having a strong social circle is key to good mental health and even improving cognitive function. When older people move, they leave behind their long-time social contacts. It’s important to investigate where you plan to move and ensure it has social activities geared toward seniors and plenty of other seniors – potential new friends – in the area.
Let Things Go
This is very difficult, but you don’t want to move everything. Concentrate on moving the items you really need. Save the “want” section for family memorabilia and photos that your kids and future generations will cherish. This also means deciding between what might look best and what you actually use, such as with dinnerware. The less you bring, the happier you are likely to feel in your new home.
Give Things Away
Giving things to charity not only helps others, but it lightens the load for you, both physically and mentally. Also, if there are heirlooms that you plan to pass onto family members, such as jewelry or art, considering giving them now rather than waiting and having to move them.
Keeping these ideas in mind can make a move less stressful, and that’s a good thing for seniors. By following these ideas, you can make your move less stressful and better manage the challenging times. It can also help you move more smoothly toward where you want to be – enjoying life in your new home.