Take Care of Paperwork and Logistics
Moving is emotional—while it is often an exciting transition, it can also be extremely taxing. Avoiding any unnecessary stress is key, particularly for seniors and those with disabilities. Part of this process is ensuring that you have completed all the necessary ‘paperwork’ logistics, like scouting out services near your new home or filing for an address change with the post office.
You’ll want to make sure that you change your address on any bills and subscriptions, including assistive services such as Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Insurance. Always ensure that you look into local regulations and application processes for such assistance, especially if you are moving out of state. Similarly, do some research on organizations and agencies that offer financial assistance for relocation costs and other benefits.
Assess Home Accessibility
Carefully scrutinize the accessibility of your new home before you commit. For those with arthritis or low grip strength, door handles and pulls should be easy to open, or easily installed. If you have a wheelchair, hallways and doorways should be wide enough for you to maneuver comfortably throughout your home, and countertops and other fixtures should be at the appropriate level. If you need ramps or grab bars and they aren’t already installed, ensure that installation is a physical and logistical possibility.
Rental properties will often allow alterations at the renter's expense, but building codes will vary from state to state. If you need to make any additions or adjustments to a rented home, consult local social service agencies so that you can understand the full scope of the regulations (and your rights!) in your area.
Hire Professional Packers
While they are expensive, professional movers can save you a lot of frustration and stress. Opt for a company with that will pack, load, move, and unpack your belongings, and consider those who specialize in senior moving. These services are specially equipped to help clients who need additional assistance, including mediating emotional stress.
After everything has been unpacked, make sure you do a final walk through to ensure that furniture and other items are in accessible places, and wheelchair users should consider the maneuverability of their chair. Remember to ask for discounts! Many companies will offer discounted services to veterans or people who need extra assistance with their move.
Take Careful Inventory
Often, the stress of moving is proportional to the amount of stuff you are taking with you. Take stock of what you have, and only move the essentials. It’s a great opportunity to shed duplicates, items you no longer use or wear, or anything that belongs in the landfill. You can donate, recycle, sell, or toss anything that you don’t want to take with you. If there are items you want to keep but don’t have any use for right now, consider putting them in storage.
Be Prepared to Settle In
Your comfortability is paramount, so don’t forget to arrange transportation for yourself. You should feel safe and supported, and so should your pets! Moving is very stressful for animals, so if you have them, be sure to make boarding arrangements well in advance. Your pets will adjust to the new space much better if everything is settled when they arrive.
Pack a suitcase! For the first 24-48 hours after you move, you may not have everything neat and orderly, and having the essentials set aside will assuage extra stress. Always carry your medications and other medical information with you, just in case. Similarly, make sure you know where necessary medical services are in your new location, and that they can provide you with high-quality care.
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