June 18, 2013 @ 10:31 AM

Here are six tips for moving a loved one into a senior care community:

1.    Downsize furniture to fit

Be aware that their current furniture may be in a grand scale and may not fit in the smaller, downsized rooms of retirement facilities. Draw up a floor plan to scale to ensure that the new furniture will actually fit into the new space. Think ahead: Leave ample space for seniors to maneuver their current or potential walkers or chairs, in order to make the physical transition easier.

2.    Consider wiring and remote-controlled devices

Creating ease of living is key when it comes to moving seniors. Rooms may not be electrically wired for your senior’s needs.  Consider wiring for cable, modems, lights, or other appliances and devices.  Making these items easier to use makes the transition easier, and also helps it feel just like home.

3.    Shelving and storage space

Additional shelving may be needed to store seniors’ belongings and personal mementos that may be used at a later time, analyze how much shelving will be needed to store their belongings, and install additional shelving if necessary. If working with an agency or mover, make sure to ask whether they will do more than simply unpack.

4.    Ask your loved one’s opinion

During the stress that accompanies a move, seniors’ opinions often end up being overlooked. They too have specific ideas of what they would like and it is very important to empower them and let them make decisions for their new abode. They usually have an emotional attachment to their current belongings and feelings about what they would like in their new home. Additional downsized furniture may need to be purchased in order to accommodate the smaller spaces or the lack of storage space. Consult your loved one and involve them in the purchase-making decision.

5.    Say goodbye to dishes

Unless your senior is moving into independent living or senior apartments, you can usually forget about dishes.  Even though they may think they are going to need lots of dishes, they probably won’t. Pack very little in kitchen paraphernalia, as they most likely won’t be using it.

6.    Finally… pack a few of your favorite things

As for finishing touches, it’s all about familiarity. Recognition is a key factor when you are dealing with seniors. The more familiar pieces that are in their view, the happier and more focused they become. Take the time to pull out the senior’s favorite things so that when they arrive, each room reminds them of their home. Try to make sure there are ample memory sparks in view, as these are extremely important in order to ease the transition to the new space. The more it looks like home, the easier the emotional transition will be, and the less traumatic the adjustment.

Hopefully these tips will help you get started in organizing a move to a senior care facility. Understand in advance that it can take more time and effort than expected, and working with a company that specializes in senior moves can help reduce stress and ease the emotional aspects of these transitions. You’ll be glad you took the time to organize everything when you see how happy your loved one is when they realize that their new environment feels just like home.