Recently, my 96-year-old uncle and his wife decided it was time to downsize after going up and down the steps in their two-story home for many years. Day after day, it became a task they could no longer conquer. As you can imagine, making the choice was very difficult for my uncle since he and his first wife had raised 5 children in that home, and had also welcomed 3 of their grandchildren. Moving out of a house regardless of where you are moving can be an incredibly emotional journey. Many see it as the end instead of a new beginning, and emotions can run high. Knowing what to expect can be a challenge for you and your loved ones. And although it was my uncle who was moving, I had several fond memories from visiting their home, and I was overwhelmed with emotions when I heard the news that they were moving from the house I went to every day after vacation bible school each summer. At that same time, I knew it was a move that had to happen for my uncle’s well-being.
During the flurry of activity leading up to the move, you will see your whole life packed into boxes — some items will go with you, other items to your children and some will be donated. You realize quickly that your new home cannot accommodate all that you had in your previous home before downsizing.
Moving out of the family home is a big change on many levels. First, it is a huge disruption to daily routines and a major transition into new surroundings. And for an older adult, these disruptions and transitions take much longer to adapt to than for someone younger. Secondly, a move at this stage of life may trigger concerns about loss of independence and what lies ahead. Losing any kind of independence is difficult for those who have lived an independent life. When the time comes for your loved ones to downsize and move to a new residence, remember to be sensitive to these moments. Take time to listen, be empathetic and help assure them that the move is a very smart thing to do.
To help my uncle, all of his children came home to help pack. They threw a “parting party” at the old house, and two days later they hosted a housewarming party at the new residence. My uncle and his wife have been at their new home for almost 2 years now. My uncle still volunteers every Saturday at our church, and is very active with his veterans group, where he has been a member for 50+ years. My uncle and his wife are extremely pleased with the choice they made and no longer miss the old house at all. My cousins feel comfortable knowing that their father is safe, and is being looked after by his wife and the staff at their independent living residence.
For information on independent living options at any of the Methodist ElderCare locations, call today to schedule an appointment to help determine which living option is best for you and your family.