Moving seniors to a new residence, whether it’s our elderly parents or other family members, is a huge task. Family dynamics can make it even harder, often resulting in hurt feelings, resentments, even legal disputes. Avoid these common mistakes that well-meaning caretakers and relatives often make when moving seniors:

  1. Not having a plan. Whether you have a few years or a few weeks, it’s important to create a punch list of what needs to be done by when and who will be responsible when it comes to moving mom or dad.
  2. Telling instead of asking. Adult children often see moving an elderly parent as a problem to be solved, and are sometimes eager to tell their parents what they should do. This can result in seniors that feel their wishes are being discounted. They will resist what they consider to be a rush job, no matter how well-meaning.
  3. Poor communication with other family members. Siblings that live away from the rest of the family can feel left out of the process if they aren’t updated on a regular basis.
  4. Not taking an inventory. Even small items hold a lot of memories. It may seem trivial, but selling or giving away old collections or mementos without knowing where they went can create conflict among family members. Even if Grandma’s gravy bowl was sold in an estate sale, it helps to write it down or have a photo with a note.
  5. Not having the right resources. Moving seniors is a complex task that often falls to one individual in a family. Caregivers can easily become overwhelmed if they if they don’t have the right resources to help with the downsizing and moving process, resulting in more stress for everyone. Moving seniors is never easy, but it can be a smoother transition with planning, communication and agreement with all parties involved, and tracking every step of the process along the way.

Kim Stanley is the founder of Downsize My Home, a company that provides resources and consultation to empower seniors and their families to create a smoother, less stressful transition to the right next home.