Moving to a smaller house or apartment in a retirement community almost always involves a certain degree of trauma, both for the elder who's moving and for family members. However, by planning ahead you can reduce the discomfort involved and turn what might well become a nightmare into a pleasant event.
Begin by Planning for the Move
Where is the elder moving? Go to the actual house or apartment with tape measure, pad and pencil and write down measurements. Floor space is important, but don't forget about ceilings. Many elders own large pieces of furniture that may not fit into rooms with low ceilings. Your work here will determine which pieces can move with your elder.
And while you're at the actual location, talk to several other elders who already live there. What is their life style? Do they go outside the property on frequent trips? How do they dress? Casual lifestyles will require an entirely different style of dress than more formal ones.
Gather Supplies and Contact Helpers
Having all the supplies you will need in one place will speed your task. You'll want a number of storage bins; five or six should be sufficient to hold sorted items. Plastic bags can be used for discarded belongings and as a container for articles to be donated to charities. Packing boxes and supplies such as padding materials and wide sealing tape are must‐haves. Labels and dark marking pens are essential to ensure that boxes go to their intended location.
While you're in the gathering stage, begin to contact helpers you'll need. Among these may be:
- estate sale professionals
- certified appraisers
- moving companies
- house cleaners
- repair specialists (electricians, plumbers, carpenters, painters)
Ask friends, relatives, and senior real estate specialists for recommendations. Also, check with the Better Business Bureau to ascertain whether problems have been reported about particular companies or individuals.