Moving With Seniors – The Psychology

Senior woman sitting next to colorful flowers

Moving With Seniors – The Psychology

Moving at any stage of life can be fraught with challenges and stressors, but moving as a senior citizen can get even more complicated. The reasons behind moving are more likely to be emotional, and the need for safety and security is stronger than ever. Here are some tips on the psychology of moving with senior citizens.

Why are the seniors moving?

First, you have to address the reasons behind the move. Are your seniors just downsizing? Are they moving in with family for various reasons? Are they moving into an assisted living or nursing home facility? Each and every one of these factors in a move has different physical and psychological repercussions.

Relocation trauma is real

Relocation stress syndrome, also known as transfer trauma, is a formal diagnosis that includes a combination of physiological and psychological disturbances as a result of transferring a person from one environment to another. Seniors are especially susceptible to relocation stress.

Symptoms of relocation stress syndrome include:

  • Exhaustion
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Anxiety
  • Grief
  • Depression and disorientation

 In seniors, these symptoms are exacerbated by:

  • Dementia
  • Mild or moderate cognitive impairment
  • Poor physical health
  • Frailty
  • Lack
  • Sensory impairment

For these seniors in particular, the resulting agitation, depression, and confusion can lead to increased falls, undesirable weight loss, and self-care deficits.

Initial studies on relocation stress syndrome focused on seniors moved to nursing homes and assisted living facilities without their involvement or consent. We now know that relocation stress syndrome can affect seniors who have chosen to move, been involuntarily relocated, or been placed in a care facility for mental or physical health issues.

Senior woman sitting next to colorful flowers

Alleviating the symptoms of RSS

Studies are showing that certain actions, when undertaken by family members, can reduce the impact of relocation stress syndrome. These benchmarks of senior move management include:

  • Involving the senior in the decision-making and planning processes
  • Providing the senior with an opportunity to ask questions and discuss their concerns
  • Honoring the individual’s preferences and allowing them to maintain control
  • Paying attention to details and maintaining the senior’s daily routine as much as possible
  • Safeguarding the senior’s personal possessions
  • Involving the senior in setting up the new room or  home
  • Making the new home resemble the old home as much as possible
  • Helping the resident become acclimated

Summing it all up

With thoughtful care, careful planning, and as much input as the senior is able to give, the trauma and stress of relocation can be reduced. Move It With M & S can help ease those stresses when you take advantage of our pre-moving consult, full packing services, loading, unloading, and unpacking services. Our family moves your family, stress-free.

Read Moving With Seniors – the Practicalities

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