A Guide on a Stress-Free Move for Senior People

by Katie
May 22, 2024
Local Moving Services

Moving to a new place is a common part of life – and a life-changing event at the same time. However, moving is not the same in different stages of life. When you’re in your 20s, it feels like an adventure. But when you’re in your 60+ – it may be a logistical nightmare. Or not?

Saying goodbye to a familiar space can be daunting at any age. For seniors, it can feel like leaving a lifetime behind. A University of Michigan report reveals a strong preference among older adults (ages 50-80) to remain in their homes. The data shows 88% prioritize this, with a breakdown of 62% considering it very important, 26% somewhat important, and just 12% not finding it a priority.

Uprooting their lives can be emotionally taxing for some seniors. In some cases, it can even lead to relocation stress syndrome – a condition marked by anxiety, confusion, and feelings of hopelessness and isolation.

Still, life transitions are inevitable. There are many reasons why your loved ones might need to up sticks and relocate.

We’ve got your back with some advice to make this transition a breeze. This article will empower you to navigate the process with ease.

So pack your bags, not your worries: here’s your step-by-step guide to ease the move.

Step 1. Embrace change

The first thing you need to do is to accept the fact of downsizing.

Nobody dreams of their golden years filled with moving stress. That probably goes for your parents, grandparents, or whoever else you hold dear. According to Forbes, staying put holds immense appeal for many older adults in the U.S. Topping the list of reasons to age in place is the desire for independence and control over their space. Feeling confident in their mental and physical abilities to manage their daily lives further strengthens familiar surroundings’ allure. Additionally, the senior adults appreciate the peace of a residential neighborhood, coupled with a sense of safety in their community.

When the need to relocate pops up, facing it head-on is vital. Don’t dodge the moving blues: putting things off or pretending they’ll disappear won’t work. The sooner you tackle it, the smoother the downsizing process will be. Remember, less prep time equals more stress!

Step 2. Work through belongings

Facing mountains of belongings can make moving stressful. Help your ageing relative sort all belongings into clear categories:

  • keepers for a new space
  • treasures for loved ones
  • worthy donations
  • items ready to say goodbye

Start with the first category: pack and take the necessary stuff to the new place, making it feel more like home.

To jumpstart your decluttering journey, we’ve provided handy lists covering common household items:

  • Paperwork. From bills to old love letters, decide what stays and what goes.
  • Clothing Closet Revamp. Time to say goodbye to unworn clothes and rediscover forgotten favorites. Choose the clothes your loved ones have worn for the last 12 months.
  • Furniture & Electronics. Does that bulky sofa fit your new home? Sort through furniture and electronics carefully, taking the most appropriate ones.
  • Kitchen Essentials. Toaster, hand-made mugs, mixer, microwave, china, coffee maker, whatsoever – transport only rare, expensive or essential things. Plates, cups or spoons can be found at IKEA.

Keep in mind that downsizing is a journey, not a race. Tackle it stress-free, one step at a time.

Step 3. Deal with papers

Remember about the digital “belongings”!

While you’re sorting through your things, take a moment to review your relative’s memberships and subscriptions. Canceling unused services frees up both money and mental clutter.

It may include:

  • Club membership
  • Civic organizations
  • Newspaper or magazine subscriptions
  • Mail order subscriptions
  • Cleaning service
  • Lawn care/landscaper
  • Cable, Internet
  • and others

Don’t forget about the following, as well:

  • Gathering contact info: doctor, dentist, lawyer, accountant, financial advisor, insurance agent, etc.
  • Inventory assets: savings, retirement, stocks, bonds, insurance, and property titles.
  • Snap photos of valuables for future insurance needs
  • Tax returns for 5 years. Shred older ones
  • Social Security card, Medicare card (if applicable), passport, birth certificate
  • Will, trust, power of attorney, advance directives (if applicable)

Step 4. Care about your loved ones’ mental state

Saying goodbye to a long-time home can be tough. But what if it is about exciting possibilities lying ahead?

Highlight the new location’s benefits for your loved ones. It can be stress-free living close to you, exploring artistic passions with local classes, or meeting new sweet neighbors. Help them recreate familiar routines and discover new activities they’ll love. It will make the transition smoother and more joyful.

Step 5. Wrap up

Tackle stuff piece by piece. It’s not a one-day task, so book more time to wrap up.

Consider professional help: it will sufficiently accelerate the process and reduce stress.

Take photos of current furniture placement: it’ll help recreate a familiar feel in your new home.

Pack a first-night essentials bag for a smooth transition. It should contain meds, sleepwear, a toothbrush and toothpaste, some food, and water.

To keep things in order, name each box: “Living room”, “Kitchen”, “Fragile”, “Warm clothes”, etc.

When packing with your loved ones, remember that less is definitely more. Just picture senior Rose from Titanic: she carried an aquarium on a few-day trip. Treasured items are one thing, but encourage sorting through belongings to keep only what they truly need and use. Sentimental value doesn’t have to equal physical clutter.

Step 6. Prioritize accessible transportation options

Long road trips can feel like endurance tests, especially for seniors. While some can manage with a co-pilot or frequent rest stops, others might require specialized medical transport.

Here’s how to navigate different scenarios and ensure a smooth journey for your loved one.

Packing Time for Patience

Factor in plenty of extra travel time. Frequent breaks for stretching legs and restroom visits are crucial for seniors’ well-being. Don’t be shy – regularly check in with your loved one to see if they need a pit stop.

Taking Flight with Ease

If the open road isn’t an option, consider the skies. Give the airline a heads-up in advance about any special needs – boarding assistance, wheelchair service, or specific seating arrangements. If it’s been a while since your loved ones flown, a gentle refresher on airport security protocols can ease any anxieties.

Extra Support When It Matters Most

Needing additional care? Explore senior-focused transportation companies! These specialists offer non-emergency medical transit designed for seniors with special needs, like oxygen tanks or wheelchairs. Some even provide luxury options with onboard beds and registered nurses. These services naturally come at a premium, though.


Relocating can stir up emotions, and logistics often feel overwhelming. But with a bit of planning and support, you can ease your downsizing.

Great Job Moving and Storage specialists will gladly help you in need. Sure, we’ll handle the heavy lifting, but we know there’s more to your move than muscle. Unforeseen hurdles can be stressful for seniors. Our team is built on clear communication, attentive listening, and prioritizing your needs.

We’ll ensure a smooth transition, leaving you free to focus on the exciting next chapter.

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