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Tips for Moving to a Senior Living Community

Moving a loved one to a senior living community is often stressful for everyone in the family. However, creating a plan and managing everything on a timeline can make the process smoother and less demanding.

The following steps are useful regardless whether your timeline is drawn out or compressed.

How to get started

• Sit down and write a list of everything that needs to be done by breaking it into manageable steps.

• Consider hiring movers and a Senior Move Manager to assist. It can be tempting to ask family and friends, but often, this is a bigger move than most anticipate.

• Take pictures of the house so the senior can reflect on their home.

Making it ‘real’

• Ask the community for the dimensions of the new apartment. Then, measure the furniture your loved one intends on bringing to ensure they fit.  If you have access to the apartment well in advance, tape the furniture measurements on the floor to ‘see’ how each piece actually fits.

• Enlist other family members to help with donating, selling, and sorting more oversized items and furniture —”Gift” items to family, friends and neighbors, or their church or place of worship.

• Visit the community to make them more comfortable and make sure their new living situation is accessible for them. (i.e., shower chair or commode, curtains and lamps)

The Devil is in the Details

• Notify doctors about the move and contact healthcare insurance.

• Submit for a change of mailing address

• Fill prescriptions in advance

• Pack a “run bag” or labeled moving box filled with things that need to be easily accessible. Items may include personal care/toiletries (eyeglasses, medications, a change of clothes), fresh sheets and towels, food (snacks, drinks, disposable dinnerware), tools, chargers, cleaning supplies, and payment for the movers. In addition, establish a safe place for documents such as their license, passport, etc.

Counting Down

• Allow time to say goodbye. Your loved one may find it difficult to leave their home and feel emotional about it. Leave ample time on the days leading up to the move.

• Prepare their new home: Set up the bed and dress it with fresh linens, place family photographs and trinkets, set up their personal care items and medications, and ensure they know where their medications are.

Use a Senior Move Manager®

If the logistics still seem a bit overwhelming, many find the services of a Senior Move Manager to be invaluable.  A Senior Move Manager® assists seniors and their families with relocating or downsizing to a new living situation. Their role includes creating a moving plan, coordinating and overseeing movers, helping to organize and donate unwanted items, and unpacking and setting up the new home. Amove manager is instrumental today if your loved one lives far from you, the senior has not moved in 30-50 years, or they don’t have children to assist them.

How to Help a Loved One Comfortable Throughout the Move

The most important consideration is appreciating what the senior may need help to acclimate to a new place with new people and surroundings. The more you can involve them in packing and setting up their new home, the better. Have them attend some events at the community or enjoy a meal in the days leading up to the move so that they already have some familiarity with the community.  On the day of the move, treat them to a favorite meal, takeout, or cup of tea. Make it a celebration of a new beginning.

For more practical tips on moving to a senior living community or connections to needed resources, callOasis Senior Advisors at 914. 356.1901 or 475.619.4123.

Oasis Senior Advisors


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Paul and Susan Doyle

Certified Senior Advisor®

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