Tips to Help Seniors Settle In

Getting a senior adjusted to a new home is not easy, but planning and organizing can make things much easier.

If the senior is moving into a multi-floor house, for example, it should have a room on the main floor that can be used as a bedroom when stairs are too hard to navigate any longer.
Seniors should also visit the new home before they move in. This will help them meet their new roommates and neighbors and make friends, which can alleviate the general anxiety of moving.

It also helps if the new place can look a bit like the old one, just for the sake of having something familiar. Nancy Pelham, the owner of Helping Hands Personal Service in Dallas, recommends taking digital photos of the old home so people who are helping with the move can see exactly how something was arranged at the old home.

On moving day, if the senior is going to be around, be sure there aren't any hazards. There should be enough room to walk between boxes; rolled up carpets are a tripping hazard; look out for lamp and phone cords that are not out of the way; break down boxes as soon as they are empty and set up lights right away so that everything is well lit.

It's particularly important to get the bathroom and bedrooms set up, so they can feel more at home. In some instances, it might be best if the senior is not around during the actual move. Lots of retirement communities have guest rooms that you can make use of. Make sure the senior has their medication and any change of clothes with them during the move, rather than waiting for them to be unpacked later. It's hard to tell how long the move will take.

Once things are unpacked, make sure they understand how to operate the appliances, the thermostat, alarms and any other features that might be new to them.

Also, help them with any transfers they need to do, whether it's financial, hooking up cable service and telephone, or setting up a forwarding address.