As some us may choose to relocate for work, family, or even just a change of pace, moving can be a stressful life event for all. Regardless if it be down the street or to a new city, the act of having to gather all your life’s belongings, pack them up, and move can be unsettling for many. The more belonging you’ve accrued over the years the more stuff you must decide whether to pack or discard and you can only assume the more years you’ve lived the more “stuff” you’ve gathered. This is why moving or relocating can be especially stressful on elderly individuals. Aside from just the act of moving, you must also learn to adapt and establish new routines in an unknown territory. It is no secret that we are naturally apprehensive when it comes to the unfamiliar and unknown however, once you reach your senior years, it may make most logical sense for you to relocate closer to family or a caregiver. If you are relocating in your 50’s or above there are many factors to consider to help make your transition as smooth as possible.

If you are relocating on the basis of finding a forever home to age in place, you will likely want to consider downsizing into a home that is smaller and easier to maintain. The less upkeep associated with a smaller home will help you remain more independent as you age. You will also want to ensure you are living with either a roommate, partner, or have someone close by that can visit regularly. Another common move for the elderly may be to move in with a close family member or relative for added convenience. This type of move will involve even more downsizing as you need to merge your belongings into a home that is likely already full of belongings. Once you have made a clear decision about your moving expectations, needs, and limitations you will want to begin the downsizing process.

Make sure to give yourself ample time to start carefully packing up your belongings, try to avoid lifting any heavy objects, and be sure to recruit helpers if needed. Start small and work through rooms one at time, carefully tossing items you no longer need. If you have sentimental belongings that you are unable to take with you on your move, but do not wish to toss, consider passing them down to a close family member or friend. Above all, remember that moving can be an emotional process for all and it is perfectly normal to take time to reminisce and absorb all the feelings from your old home. Once your move has concluded and you are settled in, it is important that you make an effort to establish new connections within your new community. Making new friends will help ease the anxiety associated with a new and unfamiliar place.

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