Allow enough time that your parents don’t feel rushed. Sorting through years of stuff is difficult and sometimes emotionally painful. Give them time to absorb the change.
- Obtain a room layout of their new place. Find out before you move, how much space the new place has. If your parents are moving from a three bedroom house to a one bedroom condo, then together you’ll need to decide what will fit and how much can be kept.
- Spend a day with your parents to talk about the move and what to expect. Give them small tasks to do such as going through a desk drawer or a box from the attic. Ask them to spend only 15 to 20 minutes a day on one task. Let them decide what they’d like to do and what they might find hard to do. Taking small steps will help your parents get used to the idea of moving.
- Get them involved. If you have access to the new home, take your parents there, introduce them to the new space. Do this on their own time, when they’re ready. Let them tell you how they’d like it to look and make a plan to prepare the space accordingly.
- Be kind when helping to sort and pack their things, keep in mind that their eyesight and an reduced ability to do things they used to do can result in poor housekeeping habits.
- Help sort. Like all of us, seniors tend to keep things they don’t necessarily need or will ever use. Be gentle when suggesting to get rid of possessions. Ask them if they use the item and if they would mind if you donate it. If it’s a treasure or something they’d like to keep but the new space can’t accommodate it, suggest keeping it in the family by giving it to a grandchild or another sibling. It’s often easier to give away items if they’re are going to a good home.
- Take pictures of the inside of their home. As close as possible, try to place objects in a similar way so that their new home will feel very much like the old one. Be as detailed as you can from arranging the bedroom furniture to placing the family pictures on the bureau. This will help make the new place feel like home.
- Be patient. Allow your parents time to say goodbye. If they take longer to clean out the desk drawer because of a stack of pictures they found, let them take the time to remember. This is a very important part of the process. Be patient. Listen to their stories.
- Hire outside help. Sometimes it’s easier for your parents to work with an outside party than with their children, especially when it comes to sorting and packing. Discount Moving can help.
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