Moving can be stressful. Anyone who has ever moved knows this. But with proper preparation and foresight, moving your loved one into his or her new assisted living home can be stress-free and even fun.
Follow these tips to avoid stress on moving day:
- Visit the assisted living community after you’ve chosen your move-in date.
Though you probably visited the campus when you were choosing a community, bring your loved one to visit again as a future home instead of a possibility. Ask to see a space with a similar layout and begin brainstorming how your loved one would like to set up the area.
- Plan ahead.
A big stressor is uncertainty. Avoid it by planning, planning, planning. Before move-in day arrives, map out your route to the community so that you’re not surprised by heavy traffic or construction. Ask the staff at the community where you can park, and figure out the shortest route from the parking spot to your loved one’s new home.
- Measure any furniture or appliances that you’re bringing so that you know that it will fit.
When touring, ask a staff member for the measurements of the chosen layout so that you know exactly what will and will not fit. When choosing larger items to bring along, break out a measuring tape. This will help you avoid unpleasant surprises when you arrive.
- Make yes, no, and maybe piles.
When packing, it’s important to consider what will and will not fit. Carefully measure out the new living space, and take special note of storage space. Only say yes to what you know will fit; if you’re unsure, put it in the maybe pile and offer to bring it later. Picking and choosing what to bring and what to leave is an emotional process, and one that should be done prior to moving day. This will cut down on a large amount of stress.
- Label everything clearly.
Efficient packing is a game-changer. When packing, sort everything by where it will go, not where it is. Also be sure to label all of the boxes clearly; it will make everything easier when you are ready to unload and unpack.
- Bring loved ones to help.
When moving day arrives, bring some friends and family members to help with the moving process. By spreading out the work, it will cut down on exhaustion and keep patience levels high. Besides, it is calming to be around those you love.
- Remember who is in charge.
Even if your loved one didn’t make the decision to move into assisted living, remember that this is their home. Let them choose where to put things, and don’t push too hard to convince them that the chair would look so much nicer over there. Empower them to make the decisions, but also keep an eye on them: help them out if they seem overwhelmed or stressed about the decisions. Even then, keep your guidance gentle.
- Take frequent breaks.
As we’ve said, moving is hard. The best way to keep stress at bay is to take frequent breaks from the heavy lifting, unpacking, and reorganizing. Take a few breaks to grab some snacks, play some games, or tell a few stories. This will not only relax any stress that may have built up, but it will also transform moving day into a day of fun!
- Be sensitive to emotions.
No matter what kind of preparation you’ve done, there is a good chance that your loved one will be emotional on moving day. Be aware of what your loved one is feeling throughout the day because it is subject to change. Encourage them to take a breather if they seem like their emotions are running high.
- Keep the mood light and fun.
Focus on the positives of moving to this new community. New friends, social events, caring staff—whatever made you fall in love with the community should be on the forefront of your mind all day. Don’t allow those emotions to settle and take root; remind your loved one why this move is a good thing. Encourage them to go exploring and find some things to be excited about: this will help them feel like this is their home.
Don’t be afraid of moving day, but instead view it as an opportunity to create more cherished memories with your parent. This is a new phase in his or her life full of opportunities for new friendships, activities and experiences in life.