My mom is nervous about moving to an assisted living community. Even though the move was her idea, she has been avoiding preparations for the move. I am worried she is going to change her mind. How can I help my mom manage her pre-move anxiety?
Chelsea from Saline, MI
Understanding Pre-Move Anxiety
Moving requires a lot of work, so it’s understandable that many seniors become anxious. Not only can moving be physically demanding, but it can also be emotionally draining. Many homes contain years of memories and are full of sentimental treasures.
Just the thought of sorting through their belongings can prevent them getting started, even when they know they should. Here are a few tips to ease your loved one’s anxiety about moving.
4 Tips to Help Aging Parents Overcome Anxiety Before a Move
- Work slowly
Your loved one’s new living space is most likely going to be smaller than their current residence. This means they will need to downsize. Downsizing can be difficult for seniors, especially if they have lived in their home for a long time. They will be required to make a lot of decisions about what to bring, store, and discard.
It’s important to start early so your loved one has plenty of time to sort through their belongings. Feeling rushed might overwhelm them and cause them to put the process off indefinitely.
- Move before downsizing
Going through old photos and sentimental belongings can be particularly challenging for some seniors. Certain items can trigger memories that make them question their decision to move.
In cases like this, it may be helpful to move before downsizing so your loved one doesn’t have to watch. This can help lighten the emotional burden that often comes with a move. Just make sure they are okay with your plan and remember to be mindful about what you choose to discard.
- Create a plan
Planning is one of the best ways to ease a senior’s fears about moving. Not only can careful planning help you avoid chaos, but it can also give your loved one a sense of security.
If planning and organizing aren’t your strengths, consider hiring a senior move manager. Senior move managers are professionals who have a deep understanding of senior moves and the availability of resources in the community. They can help you with everything from creating a plan to setting up your loved one in their new home.
- Get involved in the community ahead of time
Participating in the community before the move can significantly reduce anxiety. Try taking your loved one to the community to meet the staff and the residents. Many senior living communities have activities scheduled throughout the day.
Trying an activity will give your loved one a chance to become familiar with the environment and connect with their future peers. This can help them feel more comfortable about the move, and they may even start to feel like part of the community.
Moving Is a Big Decision
Moving is a major life decision, so it’s important to be empathetic towards a senior loved one’s pre-move anxiety. Take time to let them know their feelings are valid and assure them you are there to help.
I hope this helps you relieve some of your mom’s pre-move anxiety.
Heritage Supports the Transition to Assisted Living
Heritage Senior Communities, including our Linden Square Assisted Living location, offers support to seniors transitioning to assisted living. Our communities are comfortable and designed to help seniors feel right at home. Contact us for more information.