Preparing an Older Adult for the Move to Senior Living


Real estate agents say the busiest time of the year for home selling and buying is April through August. You may want to factor that in if you are helping a senior parent or family member prepare their home for sale prior to a move to senior living. Just like any major life event, moving takes good planning and preparation. But if an older adult is leaving a family home to move to assisted living or a CCRC, as a family member or caregiver, you may encounter ambivalence, reluctance, and even grieving from a senior facing this move.

To help with this transition, there are a number of steps that may help things go smoother. The most important thing you can do as a caring helper is to keep communication open. Don’t push the older adult to discuss his or her feelings, but make sure you are available if they want to discuss any concerns.

Preparation for the Move
While actual items to be moved to senior living will differ depending on the level of care and setting, the following general reminders may help.

  • Make an appointment to see the living quarters at the senior living facility. Even if you saw the rooms previously, it’s good to review and take measurements this time. This will help the senior visualize being in the space and decide what items will fit from home.
  • Discuss with a facility staff member the guidelines for personal belongings. For example, is there enough outdoor space for furniture, potted plants, etc.?

Deciding What to Keep
Going through belongings, especially those accumulated over many years can be a very emotionally-laden experience for seniors. Although he or she probably understands that most things will not be moved, the reality of that can be difficult. If you are helping sort through things, don’t try to take control of the process, but let the older adult spend some time deciding. Often the suggestion of a temporary storage facility or offer to store things in your home will ease the urgency of the situation.

Buying a few items just for the new digs is a nice touch. Offer to go shopping to pick out something special.

SeniorLiving.Net is a free service for families to use that are looking for senior care or senior living for a loved one. Call (866) 662-0435 to speak to your local Care Advisor about senior care providers in your local area.