Regardless of age, moving is physically and emotionally challenging. It is a process that can be even more difficult if you’ve lived in the same home for many years, like many older adults have. Seniors should begin the process by exploring the benefits of moving to an independent living community and the subsequent planning necessary for a successful move.

Download our Move-in Readiness checklist today to make your move smooth and hassle free!

How to Stay Organized as You Downsize

Most likely your independent living community apartment will be smaller than your home. So, how do you plan for that?

  1. Keep a notebook. Write down your strategy, the schedule and any questions you have. Make a checklist of accomplishments and challenges. List who is doing what. What tasks have family members and friends agreed to do? Will you be employing professional movers? There are organizations, like Bethesda Health Group, who work with moving companies that specialize in moving seniors into independent and assisted living communities. Start researching movers well ahead of time, as you will need to make sure you can get on their schedule. Also, items like changing your mailing address and disconnecting utilities should be on the list.
  2. Create a folder for important papers. The details involving moving can be very confusing—items can easily become misplaced or lost. Wills, other legal papers, medical and military records, passports, etc. should be kept in one place.
  3. Obtain a floor plan of the apartment. Measuring the items from your current home will help you determine what can fit into your new home.
  4. Don’t rush the process. Accept that the process is going to take longer than you first thought and longer than you want it to. You’ve had many years to collect clothes, memorabilia, trophies, games, and books, and you will have a lot of things to sort through. Trying to work through it too quickly is both mentally and physically exhausting. Set a schedule to keep yourself on track, but don’t become a slave to it.
  5. Eliminate duplicate itemsWill you really need four pots, three rolling pins, and two toasters?
  6. If it’s not been used, let it go. Everyone has bought something they thought would be useful and then used it sparingly if at all.
  7. Go room by room. In your new independent living apartment, there may not be an extra bedroom, a study or a garage. What you have in those spaces at home (you won’t need your lawn mower) will probably need to be sold, gifted, or recycled. Remember to take breaks between rooms to rest your body and renew your resolve.
  8. What about collections? Your new independent living apartment probably cannot accommodate all of your collections. Perhaps some adult children or friends would treasure a set of China. Also, the remainder of the collection could be placed in consignment for the next owners to enjoy.
  9. Recreate some of your home. Independent living communities are very accommodating about the items their residents can bring from their homes into the community. Seeing your treasured items in your new home will make it a more familiar and comforting place.

Packing Tips for Moving to an Independent Living Community

A few packing tips to keep in mind if you are not using professional packers:

  1. Put heavier items in the bottoms of boxes and don’t leave empty spaces. Fill in gaps with towels or clothes.
  2. Try not to mix items from different rooms in the same box.
  3. Label each box with the room it is designated for and a description of the items.
  4. Wrap packing paper around each dish, then wrap five or six together with more paper. Pack the dishes on their sides.
  5. Just before the move, pack a suitcase with personal care items, medications, treats, and basic necessities like snacks, towels, washcloths, soaps, and shampoos. Also, set aside those valuables you want to keep close.

#15: The Move Will Not Be Perfect

Despite all the planning and preparation, everything will not go as you have hoped or planned. Still, remember to think about the opportunities you will have to do things you weren’t able to do at home, as well as the chance to meet people and start new relationships.

If you are considering a move to an independent living communityschedule a tour at one of Bethesda’s seven communities across the St. Louis area.

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