The Senior's Guide To An Easier, Safer Move

If you're a senior who no longer wants to inhabit a large family home, relocating allows you to downsize to a cozier residence, reduce your living expenses in retirement or settle into a part of the country you've always wanted to experience. But making the move could seem like a bigger job now than it did when you were young. Here are some things you can do to simplify and streamline your relocation.

Declutter First

Before you even consider packing up your worldly goods in anticipation of your move, stop and think about how many of those worldly goods you actually need. That question was probably mostly academic back when you were just out of college and could live out of a suitcase, but since then you've had decades to accumulate a generation's worth of belongings. This clutter can make moving harder during your senior years than at any other time of life -- so streamline your move by streamlining your stuff.

Decluttering is a process best performed slowly, carefully and as ruthlessly as possible. Getting overambitious and creating huge "discard" piles will only create numerous trip hazards in your home. Start well in advance of your move date and declutter one small area at a time, even if it's just a single drawer. You can allocate a short period of time each day or set aside one day out of each week. If you can't figure out what should get thrown out and what should travel with you, hire a professional organizer who can sift through your belongings sensibly and objectively.

Prepare Your New Home (and Yourself)

Is your new home ready to host a member of the senior population in comfort and safety? Take the time to inspect the home in detail so you can get used to where everything is and how everything works before you take up residence. If you're confused by some mechanical or organizational oddity, ask the real estate agent and/or previous homeowner for clarification.

Do you have a physical condition that limits your eyesight, hearing or mobility? If so, make certain that the home you're moving into has already been modified as needed before you cross the threshold. If you use a wheelchair, for instance, get that stair lift installed so you can manage the stairs with ease -- otherwise, your first night's sleep in your new abode may be spent on the living room couch! (Check to see whether the doorways need enlarging as well.) If you have cataracts or other age-related vision problems, glow tape on the stairs and night lights along the walls can be useful safety additions.

Let the Movers Do Their Job

Moving companies can do a lot more than just load your boxes and furniture onto a truck -- many of them also offer complete packing, unpacking and shipping services as well. Taking advantage of these services makes great sense if you're not quite as spry or sturdy as you used to be. Don't assume that you can heft a box as safely or securely as you could have managed it 20 or 30 years ago; leave all the heavy lifting to the moving company personnel. Even packing can be a labor-intensive process, with a moment of unsteadiness resulting in either a broken vase or a broken toe. Don't hesitate to pay for services that could be essential to both the success of your move and your own well being.

It's generally a good idea for any resident to keep out of the way while movers work -- and it's an even better idea if you doubt your ability to spot an oncoming armchair or sofa and leap aside in the nick of time. Park yourself in a corner or on the front porch so you're free to ask and answer questions without obstructing the movers or putting yourself in harm's way.

Consider Hiring a Senior Move Manager

Relocating from one property to another is a major project for anybody, but the extra challenges of age can make it especially overwhelming. You may lack the energy, stamina, patience or willingness to manage a thousand details, from dealing with the real estate agent and choosing a moving company to unpacking and setting up all your belongings in just the right place at your new home. That's when you should consider engaging a professional known as a Senior Move Manager. These professionals specialize in coordinating (and sometimes even performing) any and all tasks necessary to help seniors manage their move, such as contacting moving companies and assisting in the settling-in process.

Moving can be an exciting and worthwhile experience at any age, so why not make it as easy on yourself as possible? Implement these strategies and you can enjoy all the fun aspects of moving without all the sweat and strain!

For more information and options, contact local moving companies or visit websites like