No matter your age, moving from a longtime home can be an emotional, stressful period in life. For older adults who are downsizing to a senior living community, there’s the extra step of making decisions about what belongings will be making the move with them. Items like extra pieces of furniture and décor may not fit in your new living space, so it’s important to take time to be as organized as possible before moving day.
That said, making the move to a retirement community is also a very freeing experience! You’ll enjoy a maintenance-free lifestyle with a wide variety of services and amenities, countless opportunities to make new social connections, wellness programming to keep your mind, body and soul engaged, and a comfortable living space designed to fit your individual needs.
The Best Moving Tips for Seniors
After researching and making an informed decision about the best retirement community that will meet your needs, it’s time to start planning your move. Experts recommend that you start your preparations as soon as you’ve made the decision to downsize. Begin sorting through your belongings and figure out what you’re going to sell, give to family members, or discard. This way, as your moving date approaches you’ll be well-prepared to start packing and completing other important tasks.
Here’s a senior moving guide and some moving tips you can reference to stay organized and ready to enjoy your new, enriching lifestyle at your senior living community:
12 Weeks Before the Move
- Make lists: things to do, things to pack, and create a timeline.
- If possible, obtain a floor plan of your new living space so you have a better understanding of what belongings can make the move.
- Give family members advanced notice that you’ll be asking for their help with sorting through belongings and packing the closer the moving day gets.
- Get estimates from moving companies and start considering senior relocation services, too. Be sure to do some research by reading reviews.
- If moving to a new town, begin researching the area. Check out visitor or tourism bureaus or the local Chamber of Commerce to get information on local senior centers, parks, libraries, post offices, etc.
- Start cleaning out storage areas in the home like attics and basements.
8 Weeks Before the Move
- Contact your insurance agents and transfer your medical, property, fire and auto insurance policies.
- Get important documents in order, such as tax and medical records, and keep them in a safe place for moving.
- Visit the IRS website to find out if any of your moving expenses are tax deductible.
- Begin making decisions about what items you will keep, donate, give to family members or put in a self-storage unit.
4-6 Weeks Before the Move
- Reserve your moving company by referencing your previous research and set your official moving date. Try to be as flexible with your date as possible, keeping in mind that moving companies are busiest on the weekends from May through September.
- Purchase packing and moving supplies like boxes, bubble wrap, tape, etc.
- Visit your local post office to submit a change of address form.
- Provide your new address to your current utility companies (water, electric, telephone, etc.).
- Transfer any current magazine or newspaper subscriptions to your new address.
- If necessary, make arrangements to rent a self-storage unit for belongings that will be dealt with at a later date.
- If you have pets, make sure to arrange special transportation for them.
- Start using up perishable items in the refrigerator and pantry.
2-3 Weeks Before the Move
- Plan a garage or estate sale to sell some of your unwanted belongings – whatever doesn’t sell can get donated to a local charity.
- Begin packing items you won’t need in the immediate future- things like seasonal decorations, books, collections, and knick-knacks.
- Contact your local bank to close your accounts, and open new accounts in your new location.
- If you have borrowed items from neighbors or the library, be sure to return them. Likewise, get the items you’ve loaned out back!
- Remind the helpers you contacted earlier that your moving day is quickly approaching- make sure everyone is still available to help with packing throughout the week or loading boxes the day of the move.
1 Week Before the Move
- Start packing up the bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen. Only set aside items you’ll need for the next week.
- Label all boxes accordingly- you can even color-code boxes by room and create an inventory list to make unpacking a breeze!
- Schedule disconnection of your utilities for the day after you vacate your home.
- Pack an “unload first” box with essential items like prescriptions, cleaning supplies, paper plates, snacks and toiletries.
2-3 Days Before the Move
- Disassemble furniture that is not being used.
- Clean out major appliances.
- Call the moving company to confirm plans – make sure they know the address of your senior living community and how to get there. Also provide your phone number and the number of a helper in case they need to reach you.
- Be prepared for delays by designing a backup plan.
- Go through your home after all items have been loaded onto the moving truck. Double check the attic, basement and closets, kitchen and bathroom drawers and cabinets.
- Be available to direct the movers and answer any questions from your helpers.
- Consult your inventory list to make sure everything was unloaded and accounted for once it’s in your new living space.
- Have payment ready for the movers.
Downsize and Enjoy Life at Immanuel Lutheran Communities
At Immanuel Lutheran Communities, you can downsize and enjoy life on your terms. You’ll find an enriching lifestyle where you can socialize, learn, relax and grow. Contact us to learn more about the living options offered at our Kalispell retirement community located in the beautiful Flathead Valley.