Preparing Seniors for a Move
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Preparing Seniors for a Move

Moving is a stressful proposition for anyone, and the thoughts and prospect of leaving a long term home can be overwhelming and anxiety inducing for just about anyone. For seniors, many of whom spent their entire adult lives in their home, filling it with memories of raising a family, living with a spouse, and more, it can feel almost like the world is coming to an end.

The emotional weight of moving to a new home and leaving behind the lifetime of accumulated possessions and memories can be especially hard for an older adult to process. The moving process is already emotional and stressful even under the most ideal of conditions. For many elderly adults who find themselves needing to move because of negative reasons like ill health, death of a spouse leaving them alone, or financial strain, moving can move from an anxiety inducing and unpleasant experience to one of outright terror.

There are, of course, many different ways for an older adult to ease the stress of moving and manage the process for the best emotional and mental outcome. All change is difficult, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that moving and selling should have to be as well.

As humans, we tend to focus our attention and dwell on the negatives. Known as the negativity bias or the negativity effect, it’s the assertion that things of a more negative nature will have a greater impact on one’s mental state and processes than neutral or positive things, even when they’re of the same emotional intensity, or slightly outnumber the negative things.

Negativity bias has been shown to have a ratio of three to one. What this means is that we need three times as much positivity to cut through the negative influences. And because the fears and uncertainties of moving can stack up very quickly, they can have a disproportionate effect and outweigh even a large number of positives. But keeping this principle in mind will aid you as you prepare to move. Focus on things lie what led you to take this step in the first place, and what you’ll gain from it. Think about the aspects of your house that no longer serve you, and the way that moving will improve your quality of life. Perhaps it will be more accessible due to mobility issues, or you’ll be closer to your adult children or other family members.

Choosing to put your attention towards things like being able to explore a new neighborhood, express your creativity by decorating a new space, and more will be important. While the process of moving may not always go according to whatever you’ve planned, thinking positively and optimistically will make you better equipped in the event that things go wrong.

Planning and accomplishing every part of a move is too much to take on all at once. Breaking the process into chunks, such as by organizing and packing each room of the house one at a time will help you to make progress at a steady pace, leading to a smooth experience.