For many seniors, there comes a time to transition to a smaller home or to assisted living. All moves come with a long list of to-dos, but senior moves come with a couple of extra considerations.

Whether you’re a senior transitioning to a new living situation or a loved one helping a senior, we’ll offer you our tips for a stress-free senior move in Alaska. With these must-knows, you’ll be able to smooth the way for a simple senior relocation, avoid the common speed bumps, and establish a new home that’s perfect for spending those golden years.

Senior Moving Tip #1: Understand That This Move May Be an Emotional One

Moving can be a stressful experience at any age. As seniors transition to a new living situation or to an assisted living facility, emotions can be particularly high:

  • Some seniors may be leaving behind a home that’s filled with happy memories.
  • Others may feel like they’re surrendering their independence by moving into an assisted living facility.
  • And still others may not be ready to admit that they’re at a crossroads where a move is necessary.

It’s important to recognize the broad range of emotions that may come with a senior move—and make space for them.

If you’re the one making the move:

  • Acknowledge your feelings and validate the message they’re sending. This move will likely represent a significant transition, and it’s only natural to experience a full range of reactions: sadness, anger, frustration, and nostalgia for the past, among others.
  • Find ways to take your positive memories with you. For example, if you’re feeling sentimental about your current home, take photographs before the transition. That way, you can enjoy those photos—and relive the memories—at your new home.

If you’re helping a senior with their Alaska move:

  • Talk with your loved one about their feelings. Give them a venue to express their emotions without judgment—even if those emotions aren’t 100% positive. Creating this space will go a long way toward smoothing the transition for your loved one.
  • Brainstorm ideas to help them make the most of their new living situation. Can you help your loved one pick out a few, key items to anchor the feeling of their old home in their new space? Or, can you help them lean into some of the positives of their new home, such as promising to bring a grandchild by for a scheduled visit or committing to a regular walk together through the grounds of the assisted living facility?

The more you can account for the emotional side of the move, the easier the process will feel be overall.

Senior Moving Tip #2: Involve Friends & Family in the Process

A little support can go a long way.

If you’re a senior planning to downsize or move to assisted living, reach out to your loved ones sooner rather than later so they can help you with the process. Whether that support is emotional or tactical, having a trusted relative or friend on your side will mean a much easier transition.

If you’re helping a senior plan their Alaska move, reach out to other friends and family members for support. Involving other stakeholders can help you shift a few things off your plate or can simply assist with the emotional burden. After all, transitions like this can impact caregivers and loved ones, too!

Senior Moving Tip #3: Get Organized with a Moving Checklist

The most impactful way to keep the stress low during a senior move is to create a plan—and stick to it.

Put together a checklist to guide your senior move, so you know what to do at every step. As a starting point, check out our Royal Alaskan Movers moving checklist. Since every move is unique, you’ll likely have your own additions. However, this checklist will give you a solid foundation so you don’t forget anything.

Senior Moving Tip: One of the first items you’ll see on our moving checklist is to call us ASAP to schedule a survey. The winter months aren’t ideal for a senior move in Alaska. The earlier you call, the more likely you are to get your preferred move dates, which can mean keeping your senior out of Alaska’s freezing cold, ice, and snow.

But before you can schedule a survey, there are a couple of items you need to tackle.

Senior Moving Tip #4: Get Realistic About the New Living Space

One of the most common problems we’ve seen with senior moves is overestimating the available space at the new home. There’s nothing quite as painful as trying to place a couch or a bed and discovering it doesn’t fit—right in the middle of moving day.

To prevent “wishful thinking,” we suggest creating a floor plan of the new home. Measure the furniture you’d like to move, and pencil it in on the new layout. That’s the best way to ensure everything fits—and to make sure you know where to tell the movers to put it on moving day.

Senior Moving Tip: While you’re creating that floor plan, take some time to think about how you can make life as easy as possible for the senior moving into that space:

  • Is it time to toss all the floor rugs—or any other items that can quickly become a trip hazard?
  • Do you need to install any handrails or grab bars in the new living space? It’s a good idea to take care of this before moving day. Take an especially close look at the bathroom to ensure it’s easy to complete basic hygiene tasks. In an assisted living, these items may already be taken care of, but if your senior is living independently, it’s worth an evaluation before the move.
  • Finally, where independent living is concerned, how easy is it to get help if needed? You may want to consider a medical alert system or buying the senior in your life a device like an Apple Watch so help is at easy reach.

Once you’ve established a floor plan, you’ll know which pieces of furniture need to be moved. This puts you one step closer toward getting an accurate moving quote.

You’ll also want to take a close look at paring down before the big move.

Senior Moving Tip #5: Downsizing Is a Must

donating clothes

Most senior moves involve a transition to a smaller home, which means downsizing.

Here’s the good news: Downsizing is also the secret to an affordable Alaska move. Check out our article on downsizing to help you pare down and make a fresh start after your senior move.

We’ve also got a couple of additional senior-specific tips to assist with an easy transition:

  • Some seniors may have collected a lifetime of photo albums, all of which may not fit into the new home. Set aside a time to sit down and collect favorite photos into one or two albums. Consider distributing the remaining photos among relatives, who can continue passing them down to future generations.
  • Rather than passing along sentimental items or heirlooms in their will, seniors may want to invite relatives over and distribute them before the move. That way, both generations can enjoy them—the younger generation in the receiving and the older generation in the giving.
  • Start early. When seniors start giving away or selling items, they might start to feel angry, sad, or upset. If you’ve left a generous timeline for downsizing, there’s room to take it slow and deal with any emotions as they come up.

Senior Moving Tip: When it comes to downsizing, don’t skip those papers and files! Over a lifetime, we accumulate a ton of documents, many of which we no longer need. Go through all documents and papers carefully. You may want to scan the most important ones so you or a loved one has an extra copy. Organize what you need to keep, and shred the rest.

Once you’ve developed a floor plan and downsized, you’re ready to call in the pros to price out your move.

Senior Moving Tip #6: Get Three, Independent Quotes for Movers

You may have already decided that professional movers are a must for your senior move.

If you’re considering a DIY move—in that true, can-do Alaska spirit—take a moment to think about how much hiring a professional crew could take off your plate. Rather than spending your time renting a truck and finding helpers, you could, instead, enjoy those final moments in your home and gain emotional closure.

Or, if you’re hiring help for a loved one, you could spend your energy providing much-needed emotional support. If you’re hauling boxes, you might not have time to offer the love and attention your transitioning senior needs.

If you decide to hire professional movers, we recommend getting three, independent quotes for your move. By asking three companies to evaluate your move, you’ll get a good lay of the land for how much a move like yours will cost. You’ll also get a good sense of how each of these companies does business.

When you talk to professional moving companies, here’s what to look for:

Companies that will do a survey, either in-person or virtually. Some companies offer online quote forms, in which you input what you want to move and they give you a number. Although these forms seem handy, they often aren’t accurate. You might find yourself with a surprise bill on moving day.

Companies that offer complete packing and unpacking services. Having the pros pack everything, move it, and unpack it all at the other end can lift a tremendous burden, either from the senior who’s moving or their family and friends. As an additional bonus, you won’t have to buy or find any packing materials. The crew will show up with everything they need—boxes, packing materials, and tape.

Finally, don’t forget to ask about full-value replacement coverage. (Some people think of this as “moving insurance.”) Especially if you’re doing a long-distance move to or from Alaska, this coverage is an important way to protect your move.

Read more about full-value replacement coverage.

Ask about this vital coverage during your survey.

Senior Moving Tip #7: Don’t Be Afraid to Hire All the Experts

In addition to professional movers, don’t be shy about investing in additional professional help.

For example, you might want to consider hiring:

  • A senior move manager, who can handle a number of different tasks, including downsizing, estate sales, scheduling and managing the move, and more. The National Association of Senior and Specialty Move Managers (NASMM) offers education and training for their Senior Move Managers, so they may be a good place to start if you’re interested in hiring help to coordinate the entire transition.
  • A local estate cleanout service, if you simply need help cleaning out a loved one’s house—or your own. You’ll need to vet these providers carefully, but they can be a huge help with organizing, recycling, donating, and disposing of unwanted items.

The bottom line? Don’t hesitate to hire the help you need. The right professionals can lighten your load considerably.

Smooth, Stress-Free Senior Moves

With any move, a few bumps in the road are practically inevitable. However, when you head into your senior move with a solid understanding of what’s at stake, what’s ahead of you, and where you can turn for assistance, you’ll pave the way for a much smoother relocation experience.

Need some help with your Alaska senior move? We do moves all over the state, including senior moves to Alaska and senior moves from Alaska to the lower 48. We also offer complete packing and unpacking services to make your senior move simple. Just reach out to our team for a complimentary quote to get started.

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