When senior homeowners decide to downsize and move out of their home they’ve been in for many years, it’s advisable to begin the planning process as early as possible. There’s so much to do when downsizing, whether it be to a new townhome, single-level home, or multigenerational home with family members. After all, your home is full of memories, the accumulated belongings and mementos gathered and stored away over the decades. Deciding what you’ll take, give away, and throw out can be stressful for an older adult who may be emotionally compromised by the whole experience. Then there are the logistics of moving to iron out, scheduling and preparing for the move, and determining what you’ll do with the proceeds from the sale of your house.
Leaving a home of many years is a traumatic experience for seniors, what some psychologists call transitional trauma. For an older adult, moving is often associated with loss and the realization that life has changed in ways that are difficult to accept. For some, the whole ordeal can be paralyzing, leaving them feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to begin. In some cases, seniors simply decide that the best thing is to do nothing. That’s why the help of a family member or close friend can be invaluable, someone who can provide guidance and reassurance just when it’s needed most.
Preparing the way
Scheduling a moving date as soon as possible is important because it gives substance to the idea of moving and sets a tangible expectation for you and your loved ones. Most importantly, it removes the unsettling feeling that comes from uncertainty and the worry that everything’s out of your control. Remember, you’ll need to research and hire a moving company in advance. On average, people make reservations for their move about eight days in advance, so it’s best to make arrangements sooner than later.
Organizing it all
Try to be systematic when it comes to organizing your belongings. Unless you’re habitually diligent about clearing out closets, your basement and attic (most people aren’t), there’s probably a lot to go through. Organizing it all can help take some of the anxiety and pain out of the process. You might consider beginning by separating items that have little or no emotional worth to you, then start organizing everything else based on what you plan to do with it (i.e. donate to charity, give away, move, etc.). This can be an emotional experience, so consider asking someone close to you for help. You could also hire a professional packer, but these services could cost you over $60 an hour.
Repair and refresh
Preparing a house for sale is much the same no matter what your circumstances happen to be. To make it attractive, you’ll need to make any necessary repairs and freshen up your home’s look both inside and out. Typically, adding some fresh paint and more lighting can help restore some of the luster your house may have lost over the years. External windows should be kept clean and the lawn mowed on a regular basis. Maintaining curb appeal can make all the difference when that one family that’s motivated to buy happens along.
Finding the best movers
Hiring a professional mover is generally your best option, especially when it comes to protecting your valuables. Movers are experienced at packing items with materials specially selected to prevent damage. Moving your belongings onto a moving truck means more than just slinging them into the back and slamming the door shut. It requires a systematic approach that professional movers have perfected over time. However, don’t forget to do your research – search the Internet to see what other customers have to say about the company you’re considering, and see if the Better Business Bureau has additional information about them. You can also determine the estimated cost of a move with a moving cost calculator. In the St. Paul area, the average cost of moving locally ranges from $374 – $907.
Take your time
Moving is an unsettling experience, especially if too much is left to chance. Careful preparation is essential, which is why you should begin the process as early as possible. Take the time to do it right so you can get everything organized, retain a reputable moving company, and provide for every contingency.
Header image: Lennar’s Next-Gen Homes are two homes under one roof, a unique option for multigenerational households.
Written by Hazel Bridges. Hazel Bridges is the creator of AgingWellness.org, a website that aims to provide health and wellness resources for aging seniors. She challenges herself to live life to the fullest and inspire others to do so as well. After overcoming breast cancer at age 60, she vowed to never waste another second. She hopes to inspire and assist other seniors on their journey to health and wellness in their golden years.