MoveChat: How to Handle a Senior Move

On the first and third Thursday of the month, movers from across North America participate in a discussion on Twitter, called MoveChat, where stories, tips, and advice are shared. Every chat, we discuss a specific part of the moving process. This week the topic was, “How to Handle a Senior Move” and what follows is an edited transcript of the discussion.

Q1. For a family, what is different about a senior move?

HAuston Emotions can play a large role. Careful planning is needed.

PortageCartage Often the kids come in from out of town to arrange it, meaning condensing weeks of prep into a much shorter time frame.

PortageCartage @HAuston Good point. Moves into assisted living homes are often the last moves people ever make.

jkmoving @PortageCartage @HAuston There are tough calls on whether or not some items should be kept or discarded as well

jkmoving Exactly, delicate but quickened planning is needed. Movers and family need to be very clear on what’s happening

Q2. How is a senior move different for the moving company?

PortageCartage Our regular pace of work is often overwhelming for seniors & we have to slow down to keep them comfortable with the process.

jkmoving We do our best to use the same crew for certain assisted living facilities so they know the people and the layout

HAuston Movers need to clearly establish who is the decision maker and prioritize communication.

Q3. What can seniors do to make the move easier?

PortageCartage Downsize, downsize, downsize. We’ve had seniors try to fit a full 3-bdr home into a 700 ft² condo.

jkmoving We suggest a floor plan (ahead of time) so seniors know what they can and can’t take. (This applies to all moves really)

HAuston Take time now to get possessions in order, declutter and plan to distribute and give away items.

jkmoving If there are problems downsizing, consider taking photos and making an electronic scrapbook. It’s better than alternative

Q4. If you have any other tips or suggestions for a senior move, feel free to share now.

PortageCartage Our crews like to load the table & chairs last so they can be first unloaded, allowing the customer to sit down right away.

HAuston Seniors planning a move need to explore all options look at the short-term options & also consider what may happen a year from now

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  1. Q1 – Family dynamics, downsizing issues, planning for aging w/floorplan & furniture ie… right furniture (hips should be higher than knees when sitting for easier standing), beds should be smaller easier to change. Helping seniors choose what furniture to downsize with that takes them more easily into the future is important.

  2. Sorry to have missed the chat! Looks like you covered the topic well. There is definitely an emotional component/dynamic to a senior living move, especially if it was prompted by the death of a family member. I’m glad the group covered that piece of it. Downsizing ahead of time is also very important and a great way to make the move smoother and less overwhelming for everyone involved.

    Here are a few of our blog posts and articles specific to the subject that readers may find helpful:

    An extensive resource guide on making a senior living transition, from paying for care to preparing for the move:

    You may also want to check out “Planning for a Senior Living Move” for advice on staying organized before, during and after move-in day.

    An important though sometimes overlooked aspect of a senior living transition is what happens AFTER the move takes place. If a senior moves from home to an assisted living community, the primary caregiver still has an important role and must stay connected to the individual; here’s our post on that topic:

    Thanks for providing this forum!

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