Moving Seniors to a New Home Safely and Successfully

Moving Seniors to a New Home Safely and Successfully

time icon 5 min read update icon Sept. 16, 2019


No matter what age, most people do not enjoy moving. It is a difficult and stressful time for many. Most seniors dream of living out their lives in the primary residence of their youth, but many things can force a move. Moving is difficult in the best of circumstances, but when compounded with age, it is imperative that every measure is taken to make the transition safe and successful. 


Moving during a person’s golden years is never easy. The experience may be filled with stress and worry. Most seniors want to age in place, but sometimes the death of a spouse, finances, the need to downsize, or the need to seek increased caregiving services force a move. Loved ones strive to make the move safe and reduce the emotional upheaval, but sometimes, even in the best of circumstances, a senior may still become stressed. The key to a successful move is maintaining communication with the senior, remaining realistic when it comes to clutter, staying organized throughout the move, and admitting that you might need professional moving assistance to make the entire transition successful. 

Creating a Stress-Free and Safe Moving Experience for Seniors

One of the key ways to make the moving experience tolerable for an elderly person is to take things slow. Rushing a move not only causes physical stress, it also creates unwanted emotional turmoil. A senior must be treated with kindness and respect during a move. A person should place themselves in the senior’s shoes to see exactly what they are experiencing and remain compassionate. 

  • Maintain Communication: Adult children, relatives, and friends often start to make moving plans without consulting with or including the senior. This causes a serious breakdown in the communication process. A senior might start feeling left out and like they are being treated as a child. The senior might start to resist the move, pick arguments, and become obstinate. Such a situation is unfortunate and does not need to happen if everyone involved in the move maintains communication with the senior. Ideas and plans should always be passed by the senior before being implemented. If the senior voices concern or reservations, then these emotions must be acknowledged and addressed. 
  • Clutter: Many elderly individuals who have lived for decades in a home have accumulated a great deal of clutter. Clutter slows down the moving process and creates a dilemma. Maybe the new residence is simply not large enough to accommodate all the possessions. Parting with items is usually a very emotional experience for an elderly person. Separating the useful items from the useless fodder is the first step in effective decluttering. It is always helpful to point out to the senior that the discarded items can either be sold at a sale to be liquidated for useful funds, or they can be donated to help the needy. If the senior truly balks at getting rid of certain items, then maybe a storage unit should be rented to hold the excess things until a decision can be made later. 
  • Organization: It is imperative to remain organized when moving. All boxes should be labeled according to content and which room at the new place they will be placed within. Many people go the extra step by also labeling and sorting boxes according to priority. Food items, personal hygiene supplies, medication, and clothing must all be readily accessible at the new home, and should be considered a priority in the organization and labeling process. They should be loaded last and unloaded first at the new destination. 
  • Seeking Professional Help: Moving is overwhelming during a person’s youth, but individuals of advanced years may suffer even more. Often, calling in a crew of professional movers is the best option to make the move an easy transition. The National Association of Senior Move Managers is a nationwide organization that helps locate Senior Move Managers who are experienced in helping a senior downsize and safely move to a new location. They help screen professional moving companies and even host auctions to declutter the house prior to moving. They even offer emotional support to the elderly person who is experiencing the move. 

It is common for a senior to feel extremely stressed out and emotional during a move. Taking it slow is the key to safely moving an elderly person to a new residence. Helpers should point out all the positives about the move and make it sound exciting. An old chapter of life is closing, but a new and interesting one is just beginning. Ideally, every part of the moving experience benefits from having an upbeat feel. Remember, a senior is going to not only need the physical help to make the move a successful and safe experience, but also the emotional support required to ease the transition.

Kimberly Sharpe - Senior Advisor

Kimberly is senior researcher with Grandfolk® providing in-depth product and service reviews to empower senior buying decisions.