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What Challenges Do Older Adults Face When Moving?

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An elderly couple sitting side-by-side looking at their packed boxes in an empty room as they move into a senior living community.

Moving can be stressful for anyone, but it can present unique challenges for older adults. As a loved one ages, they may find it harder to navigate the physical and emotional aspects of moving, which makes the transition more difficult. 

Senior living communities offer several levels of care and personalization to suit individual needs and preferences. This can provide a life of comfort and ease for older adults when transitioning from their homes. 

We explore some of the challenges older adults face when moving and offer tips for making the process smoother and less stressful.

Reasons Why Older Adults Move

Many older adults want to live in their homes or age in place. While this can be an option for some, continuing to live independently may not be an option for others. 

As needs change for older adults, such as difficulty getting around, difficulty with activities of daily living, safety concerns, and health issues arise, relocation may become necessary. Here are some reasons why older adults may move from their homes:

  • Concerns about falls
  • Safety
  • Accessibility
  • Isolation and loneliness
  • Financial concerns
  • Change in health or mobility
  • Inability to keep up with household tasks
  • Personality changes
  • Divorce
  • Loss of a spouse
  • Caregiver burnout

Moving Challenges for Older Adults

Moving to a new home, whether it’s downsizing to a smaller space or relocating to a senior community, can present challenges for older adults. These challenges can be physical, like packing and lifting heavy objects, and emotional, like leaving familiar surroundings, friends, and neighbors, which may lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Physical Challenges

One of the most significant challenges for older adults when moving is the physical strain of packing, lifting, and carrying heavy objects, particularly those with mobility or health issues. Older adults may have reduced strength, mobility, and flexibility, making it difficult to move furniture and boxes. 

Additionally, seniors may be more prone to injuries such as strains, sprains, or even fractures. Addressing these challenges may be to plan ahead and ask for help. Hiring professional movers or enlisting family and friends can make managing it easier. 

Emotional Challenges

In addition to the physical challenges, moving can also be emotionally challenging for older adults. They may feel a sense of loss, sadness, and loss of autonomy about leaving behind their home and community. 

To address these emotional challenges, family members and friends can acknowledge and validate the feelings of loved ones. Allow them to express their emotions and provide support and reassurance. 

You can also encourage friends and family members to stay connected, even if a loved one is moving to a new location. Having a support network can help alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Mental Health Challenges

Relocation stress or relocation stress syndrome is the effect of transitioning into residential care in older adults. Loved ones can experience heightened confusion and loneliness. This can increase their risk for anxiety and depression. 

Memory care in senior living is a lifestyle option that can provide an individualized and personalized level of care for loved ones with cognitive problems. 

A group of happy senior people engaged in conversation with their caregiver in a home setting.

Adjusting to a New Environment

Moving to a new environment can be disorienting, particularly for older adults who may have lived in the same location for many years or all their life. Older adults can feel more vulnerable when moving from familial to unfamilial environments. 

They may need time to adjust to their new surroundings, such as learning their way around and finding new services and resources.

To help older adults adjust to a new environment, provide them with information about their new community. Visiting the community beforehand can also help by introducing them to neighbors and community members, which can help them feel more connected and supported.

Financial Considerations

Financial considerations can include assessing the financial well-being of a loved one, such as limited income, selling their home, cost of moving, and cost of senior living communities. 

To address financial considerations, plan ahead and create a budget. Researching different options for moving can help find the most cost-effective solution. It may also be helpful to sell or donate items that are no longer needed, which can help offset the cost of the move.

Enriched Senior Living

Moving can be a daunting task no matter what stage of life you’re in. For older adults, there can be numerous physical, emotional, and financial challenges that come with moving. With planning, enlisting help, and providing emotional support, you can help make the process smoother and less stressful for a loved one. At Round Lake Senior Living, our goal is to help your  loved one feel comfortable and safe in their new environment as they continue to thrive and enjoy their golden years. Contact us or schedule a tour to learn about our community and how we can support a loved one during their move. 

Written by Lifespark

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