When You Have to Move
Planning for a Move
Change is hard. We all get into a rhythm in life, and disruption can throw us off balance and increase our stress. Seniors, young children, and those involved in an involuntary move may have a particularly difficult time with the transition. For them, relocation can feel not only like a change in living location but also like an upheaval of all aspects of life. Fortunately, there are some things that can be done to help decrease the stress of moving.
Involve everyone in the moving process– Well-meaning family members or parents may think that they are helping by stepping in and taking care of all the move details, but in fact they are really increasing the stress for those involved. Seniors, children or those being forced to move are often already struggling with the feeling that they don’t have control over the situation. Things are going to change, and they don’t have a say in the matter. The solution is to encourage them to be involved, even if it is in a small way. Include aging parents in planning the move, choosing the apartment or deciding how to layout the new space. Let children help gather toys to be packed, research their new town, and unpack their things when they arrive at the new home.
Strive to keep as many things consistent as possible– A move turns everyday life upside down and makes schedules hard to maintain. Try to restore the daily routine as soon as possible even if this means certain activities have to be deferred until everyone has adjusted to the move. Take time before introducing the local cuisine. Prepare regular meals so they can find comfort in the familiar.
Recreate familiar space-Set up the new space to resemble the old space as much as possible. Buying new furniture or decor to match the new house may be a good idea, but wait until all have had time to adjust to the change in location and space. The feel of a familiar blanket or the sight of a well-known picture arrangement on the wall will provide comfort and limit the amount of change that is happening at one time.
Moving can be overwhelming, but limiting the amount of change experienced and allowing participants to be involved in the process will help reduce relocation stress.