Are there strong enough reasons for people to relocate at an older age? Indeed, there are, and more so after the pandemic. Many seniors rely on their mobility and community support to complete their chores. However, the multiple Covid waves forced a rethink on these aspects when neither they could step out nor allow house helps. Also, the situation was such that neighbors and volunteers could only do so much. People felt the absence of near and dear ones badly at the time. While this is one reason many seniors may consider relocation at an older age to be with their family, there are always others.
A few seniors decide to sell their large homes to move to smaller ones or senior community living. A few others move as they lose a partner and do not want to live alone, whereas, for a few others, it could also be moving back to their roots after retirement, etc. Whatever the reason, moving/relocation at an older age is not easy, especially if you have spent many years in the same house, city, or even country. It brings anxiety about the decision, about starting a new life in a new place, and many what-if questions that can cause sleeplessness. You may feel better knowing that there is something called relocation stress syndrome (RSS) and that it is natural. However, if you follow a few tips, you can turn around this experience and feel better.
Take Time, Plan and Prepare
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The decision for relocation at an older age is not an easy one, and you should not make this decision in a short time. Neither should you take it when you are going through emotional turmoil? Take time, think it through, and discuss it with a few near and dear ones before making the decision. Perhaps, listing out the pros and cons and concentrating on the main objective of your need to move can help you make the right decision.
While you can discuss the move with people around, make the final decision yourself. Others should not coerce you into it for their convenience, even if it’s your kids. This approach would give you time to adjust to the idea, plan for the move and mentally prepare to take the step. The planning must involve your new home and set up to ensure that you are moving into something that feels as comfortable and familiar as possible. It might mean moving a few of your stuff to the new place before you move in. Especially those things that have some emotional value for you and will help you settle in better. Get used to the idea, and talk to people about it instead of avoiding the topic. Picture yourself in the new home as happy and settled and move towards achieving that. Eat and sleep well on the days before moving to ensure you are healthy on the day moving.
Even if you are fully mobile and fit, it is not easy to sort the things in the present home and pack them independently. It is best to seek the help of moving professionals to ensure that it happens systematically. Many professional movers and packers in India offer senior citizen services to help you plan and move easier. Make sure you discuss options with them, including insurance, if required. Also, it is good to click pictures of furniture and other stuff that needs dismantling, as it will be easier to fix them again. Most packers provide reassembling services. You could also click pics of the home before the packers come in as keepsakes. It is essential to pack separately the little things that matter most on the day you move to carry with you. For example, medicines, toiletries, glasses, phones, chappals, a few pairs of clothes, etc.
Give Things Away
Whether by choice or otherwise, we accumulate many unwanted things as we get comfortable in a home of many years. Moving is the best time to get rid of much-unwanted stuff. It is not easy to give things away, but one has to accept that it is best to rid of clutter and move lighter when you restart at a new place. Also, people benefit from what you give away. Plus, there is always the chance that you are moving into a smaller home for convenience. You may not have a place for everything. If you do this cataloguing and planning, it is easier to work with the hiring professionals. By all means, hold on to some precious things.
Have a say in choosing your new home- the location, the size, the proximity to your family or interests, etc. Visit the new place a few times, pick your home and draw up exactly what goes where. Make it as comfortable as possible on the day you walk in. Also, ensure that you don’t have any nasty surprises, whether a creaking window or a leaking tap, or an uncleaned bathroom. Bathrooms (Do check our Samarth Shop for handy items to keep your bathroom elder safe and friendly), especially, need a thorough check from professionals to ensure that it has the necessary fittings and accessories to suit your needs.
If you find it hard to stay alone in a new home, you could request company from some near and dear ones till you feel comfortable. Some companionship can help you settle down comfortably. Also, visit a few neighbors, if possible, before moving and keep them informed of your plans. In India, it is common for neighbors to help out newly shifted people in the initial few days.
Create Your Network
One of the biggest grouses of moving is leaving behind a carefully crafted network of many years. There is someone handy for something. The list could start from doctors, chemists, maids, drivers, lawyers, and grocery shops, to the doodhwala. You could always check with your current doctor to refer you to someone in your new location. If not, you could enquire in your network to get a few referrals. For most stuff, new neighbors can help out. If you already have some family in that location, then they can help with all these.