Although new experiences can sometimes be the best things in life, a move can be stressful and anxiety-provoking.
Moving can be a life-changing and thrilling experience, relocating to a new home can be incredibly daunting, stressful, and challenging. However, there are techniques that everyone can use, especially older adults, that can simplify the process and make it less stressful.
Moving to a new home can cause havoc to your mental health and bring on feelings of stress and anxiety. To help cope with this, it’s important to stay organized, ask for help from family or friends when needed, and practice self-care. Making lists of tasks to do is the best way to break down the process into small tasks and create a plan of action.
It can be very difficult for seniors to move from their old home to a new home, especially if the move requires downsizing or moving to an assisted living or nursing home.
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that it’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed and anxious. It’s a good idea to take time out of each day to unwind and relax can help alleviate stress levels.
It may be helpful to remind yourself that this is an opportunity for personal growth and transformation. Making new friends and exploring a new place can be beneficial when dealing with the transition of moving into a new space with new people.
Building relationships and connecting with your community can be one of the best ways to reduce stress levels and find comfort in a new environment.
So, let’s talk about some practical strategies you can use to manage your stress and anxiety during the moving process.
Why Is Moving So Stressful And How Does It Affect Seniors?
Moving can be stressful for people of all ages, but it can be particularly difficult for seniors. Packing up a lifetime of belongings and leaving the familiarity of home can be overwhelming.
According to University Hospitals, the top 5 most stressful life events include:
- Death of a loved one
- Major illness or injury
- Job loss
Moving is right up there with the other major stressors!
Additionally, seniors may experience anxiety, physical symptoms, and feelings of sadness that can make the process even more difficult.
One of the most stressful things about moving for seniors is organizing and packing their belongings. This can be a huge undertaking that requires physical labor, mental effort, and emotional strength.
A lot of items may have sentimental value or attached memories which can make it hard to let go and start anew in a different place.
Sorting through all the items and deciding where each one should go can be a daunting task. It’s important to take breaks and ask for help from family and friends to manage the stress of this process.
Here are some reasons why moving stress is real and how it can affect seniors:
- Change: Moving often involves significant changes in one’s life, such as leaving behind a familiar neighborhood, friends, and routine. These changes can be challenging to cope with, especially for seniors who may have lived in the same place for many years.
- Physical demands: Moving requires physical labor, which can be difficult for seniors who may have health or mobility issues. Packing and unpacking boxes, carrying heavy items, and cleaning can be strenuous and cause fatigue.
- Emotional attachment: Seniors may have a strong emotional attachment to their current home and community, which can make it challenging to leave. This attachment can cause feelings of sadness, anxiety, and depression.
- Financial concerns: Moving can be expensive, and seniors may worry about the cost of hiring movers, finding a new home, and making necessary renovations or repairs.
- Healthcare considerations: Seniors who are moving may need to find new healthcare providers, which can be stressful and time-consuming.
- Fear: No doubt that fear is a powerful emotion, and the fear of the unknown or fear of not being able to adjust to the new area they are moving to. This fear can increase stress levels during a move and lead to feelings of loneliness or isolation.
The stress of moving can affect seniors in several ways. It can lead to physical exhaustion, emotional distress, and social isolation. Seniors who are moving may feel overwhelmed and may have trouble adjusting to their new environment.
It is important to support seniors during the moving process by helping them with the logistics of the move, providing emotional support, and helping them to find social connections in their new location.
How To Manage And Relieve Stress When Moving
Moving to a new house, a new city, a new life can be a stressful experience, but there are steps you can take to manage and relieve stress during the process.
Here are some tips:
- Make a plan: Create a timeline and to-do list for your move to help you stay organized and reduce feelings of overwhelm. Give yourself enough time to plan and don’t wait until the last minute.
- Get help: Don’t try to do everything yourself. Enlist the help of family and friends or consider hiring professional movers to assist with the heavy lifting. Having a family member to help you with the big move can make all the difference. Whether it’s helping you sort through items and packing, or simply providing emotional support, having someone who understands your feelings of anxiety and stress can be invaluable.
- Senior moving specialist: These professional movers have years of experience in helping seniors transition into their new homes, and they understand the unique challenges associated with such a move. They can help organize your belongings and make sure everything is packed properly and safely, taking much of the stress off of you.
- Take breaks: Moving can be physically demanding, so it’s essential to take breaks and rest when you need to. If you give yourself plenty of time to make the move, you’ll have less stress and time for breaks.
- Practice self-care: Take care of yourself by eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and engaging in activities that help you relax, such as yoga or meditation.
- Stay connected: Stay in touch with friends and family during the moving process to help you feel supported and less isolated.
- Stay positive: It’s important to keep a positive mindset and focus on the good things that will come with the move. By keeping a positive mindset, you’ll reduce the emotional stress of moving and have a more positive experience.
- Stay organized: Keep your belongings organized and labeled to make the unpacking process easier and less stressful.
- Take time to explore your new community: Get out and explore your new neighborhood or city to help you feel more connected to your new surroundings. Work on creating a new normal routine for yourself.
Remember, moving is a major life change, and it’s normal to feel stressed during the process. By taking steps to manage and relieve stress, you can help make your move a more positive and manageable experience.
Ways to Lower the Risk of Injury When Moving
For many older adults, the process of moving can be daunting. But, no matter your age, it’s important to make sure you’re taking the proper precautions to help stay safe and avoid injury.
Here are a few tips you can use when packing up and relocating:
- Use proper lifting techniques: Using the correct lifting methods is important, especially for heavy objects. Ensure you do not twist your body when lifting items. See this video for information on how to properly lift items.
IMPORTANT: If you cannot lift items, do not attempt to do so.
- Get help: Enlist the help of family, friends, or professional movers to assist with heavy lifting and moving bulky items.
- Communicate with the movers: Share your concerns about the possessions so that they can carry out their task cautiously.
- Pack well: Packing boxes should be correctly labeled, with arrows indicating the top and bottom sides, and marked heavier and fragile boxes. This way, you and your team will be able to handle them appropriately and with care and prevent injuries.
- Clear pathways: Make sure that all the pathways are free from obstacles and tripping hazards. Make sure all slippery materials are handled with care. Also, it is important to dress appropriately in loose-fitting, comfortable wear and closed shoes.
- Wear appropriate clothing and footwear: Wear comfortable, supportive shoes with non-slip soles and avoid loose or baggy clothing that could get caught on furniture or other items.
- Use ramps or lifts: If you are moving to a home with stairs or an uneven surface, consider using ramps or lifts to make the move safer and more accessible.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration, which can lead to fatigue and muscle cramps.
- Declutter: Other than hiring an expert moving company that can help them move heavy items, the challenges can be addressed by downsizing the number of items to be moved. Read more about the importance of decluttering here.
By following these tips, seniors can help lower the risk of injury when moving and make the process safer and more manageable.
Moving from one home to another is common and almost inevitable in the course of one’s life. It can be stressful making such changes in your life and adapting to new environments.
Being able to move to new homes and avoid or reduce stress-related challenges, and enjoy the new experience is paramount.
Putting in place the necessary measures when preparing to move is very critical. By employing some or all of the strategies discussed above, you will be guaranteed a stress-free relocation and at the same time ensure you, your loved ones, and your pets are safe and free from injuries.