A senior move…dealing with the stress

Moving is generally stressful for everyone, but seniors can be especially nervous facing a move. Such was the case last week, with a senior client in San Francisco, who was voluntarily moving, from the 3rd floor of her building, to the 1st floor – into an identical one bedroom apartment…how difficult could that really be?

Our client is a “worrier”. She worried about EVERYTHING she could, from the amount of noise that would be made, to the amount of garbage that would be generated by the clean out of the apartment she’d lived in for 25 years.  It seemed there was no way to calm her anxiety, so we just kept moving forward.  Because of her physical health, we could only work a couple of hours a day, clearing out the accumulation of stuff.  We donated what we could and discarded the rest.

Finally, on packing and moving day, we convinced her to leave the work to us and she went out for the day.  When she returned, she was moved, and by the next day, totally unpacked, completely decorated and put away.

And yesterday I got an email telling me how happy she is!

A professional organizer’s moving tips for a successful senior move

  1. Make a plan and stick to it.
  2. Do not think that you can calm a worrier – they just keep finding more things to worry about.  You must remain calm and keep on task.
  3. Keep the work sessions short.
  4. Ask a minimum of questions – constantly asking them things overloads their circuits.
  5. Keep them on their regular routines when possible – work to their schedule, not yours.

A senior move is one of the most rewarding parts of my business.  I enjoy taking the stress out of moving!


4 comments on "A senior move…dealing with the stress"

  • Toni Berry says:

    Hey Gayle…I’ve been in my home since 1975….and I worry now about how much stuff I have accumilated. I am committed to removing stuff each week. Your articles are always inspiring to me and my effort. You have a calming effect on people my dear friend!

    • Gayle Grace says:

      Thank you, Toni! You are doing what I hope all of us will do…evaluate our relationship to our stuff and recognize how much we accumulate because we have the space to. Starting your stuff removal NOW is so valuable to your living a comfortable life later…knowing that you have exactly what you need and love, and nothing more to deal with.

  • Stephania Andrade says:

    My grandparents fear moving because they have lived in their home for over 60 years. They live in a 5 room home and have accumulated all of their children and grandkids’ unwanted “memories” also known as junk! They don’t have the heart to throw those “memories” out in order for them to move to a much smaller home. How do you think they should go about reducing their “memories” at home?

    • Gayle Grace says:

      Stephania: I know how hard it is on family members to see their elders struggling in a home that no longer supports them. Unfortunately, there is no easy solution to this particular issue. People holding on to things (memory clutter) because they have an emotional attachment is probably the toughest of all the habits to break. You have to start with small victories…find the one thing they can let go of and work from there.

      Sometimes you can offer them the option of a photograph of the object to take the place of the object itself. Last year a client was able to part with a giant handmade piano because we had a professional photographer come to the house and take a photo of her playing it.

      I also use a technique of ordering objects from 1 to 10, persuading them to keep only items that have a value of 5 up to 10. I also counsel them to try “feeling transfer” on items, can you take all the feelings you have for these 5 objects and transfer those feelings into just 1 or 2 items.

      I wish you the best with this task!