Moving is a high-stress life event, the experts tell us, and they're right. Whether it's cross-town or cross-country, whether to a small apartment or a large suburban home, tackling the organizing, packing, discarding, cleaning, paperwork and the myriad other tasks is a major challenge.
When you're older and moving from the family home to a new smaller residence, possibly in a new community or your adult child's home, sorting through decades of family history and possessions can feel overwhelming—even paralyzing.
As we progress through life, moving may signal new opportunities, a new relationship, a new adventure ahead. For an older adult this "new" opportunity may feel like a mixed blessing. On the positive side, a move may offer a sense of "lightening" to reduce the messy clutter of a family's history, fewer home and yard chores and can help reduce feelings of isolation of living alone. More often, this relocation can be an unwelcome admission of frailty, loneliness, possible serious illness, and a loss of independence.
If you are facing a crisis, such as moving a parent into an assisted care residence after a caregiving spouse dies, or into a nursing home after a devastating stroke, the process will be condensed and planning time will be minimal. This may be the most challenging experience of all. We encourage you to get as much help and support as you can from friends, family, religious communities and social service organizations.
If you are an adult child helping your parent make this move, we hope this also offers advice on how to be both supportive and efficient as you and your loved ones manage this major life event.