Senior Moving Guide

Moving Tips for Seniors

Moving out of a home that’s been lived in for many years is an emotional time for everyone, no matter your age. However, for seniors who are downsizing, whether to an independent living apartment or an assisted living community, moving day may be even more bittersweet. Knowing that you may not be able to take all of your furniture and belongings means you have to take extra steps to get organized before the move.

Often, starting the conversation about your future needs with a spouse or loved one is all it takes to prompt a change in your lifestyle. Knowing you’ll be living in an environment where you’ll be able to maintain the highest quality of life possible helps ease your mind, and your loved ones’ minds, that your needs will be met as you continue down the path of aging.

The Ultimate Senior Moving Guide

Once you’ve made the decision to downsize, it’s never too early to start planning and getting ready for a move. Our moving guide is a handy way to keep focused. Weekly tasks are recommended to make your move successful and stress-free!

6-12 Months Before the Move

  • Start researching options as soon as you’ve made the decision to downsize or when it becomes clear a loved one’s health is declining and his or her quality of life would improve in an assisted living community.
  • Visit communities to take guided tours, have lunch with current residents and talk to staff members to get a good “feel” for the environment.
  • Select the right community based on your needs.
  • Obtain a floor plan of your new living space so you have an idea of what belongings can make the move, as well as what will need to get donated or sold.
  • Enlist family members to help sort through belongings.
  • Start cleaning out storage areas in the home such as attics and basements.

3-4 Months Before the Move

  • Start preparations for the move; make lists of things to do, things to pack, and create a timeline.
  • Assign tasks to family members involved in the move.
  • Start researching companies that provide senior relocation services, and get estimates from moving companies, then do some research by reading reviews.
  • If you are relocating to a new city, start gathering information on local information and attractions, senior centers and parks from visitor or tourism bureaus and the local Chamber of Commerce.

2 Months Before the Move

  • Determine what household items and memorabilia you will keep, donate or place in a storage unit.
  • Get rid of expired perishable items in the refrigerator and pantry, and start consuming the fresh items that are left.
  • Contact your insurance agents and transfer your medical, property, fire and auto insurance policies.
  • Visit the IRS website to find out if any moving expenses are tax deductible.

4-6 Weeks Before the Move

  • Contact a moving company and set your moving date (remember to consult the research you did previously!).
  • Gather important documents such as medical records and tax documents and keep them in a safe place.
  • Start mapping out where items will be placed in your new living space based on the floor plan you obtained after choosing your senior living community.
  • Start going through belongings with family members and decide what will be moved and what needs to get sold, donated or stored.
  • If necessary, arrange to rent a self-storage unit for belongings that will be dealt with at a later date.
  • Purchase packing and moving supplies like boxes, bubble wrap, tape, etc.
  • Submit a change of address form through your local post office, and if necessary, provide your new address to your current utility companies (water, electric, telephone, cable, etc.).
  • Transfer any magazine or newspaper subscriptions to your new address.
  • Arrange special transportation for pets, if necessary.

3 Weeks Before the Move 

  • Begin packing items you won’t need for the next month, such as knick-knacks, pictures and seasonal items.
  • Plan a garage or estate sale to sell some of your unwanted belongings. Whatever doesn’t sell should get donated to a local charity or could go into a storage unit.
  • Contact your local bank to update your account information or designate a family member to manage your accounts.
  • Return borrowed items like library books or things you might’ve borrowed from neighbors or friends. Likewise, get the items you’ve loaned out back.

2 Weeks Before the Move

  • Visit your senior living community again and identify where essential stores and businesses are located, such as banks, grocery stores and pharmacies.
  • Remind the people who are there to help you moving day about the moving date approaching, to make sure they are still available to help.

1 Week Before the Move

  • Pack an “unload first” box with essential items such as prescriptions, cleaning supplies, paper plates, snacks and toiletries.
  • Give away plants that aren’t being moved.
  • Start packing clothing and aside only what you’ll need for the next week or so.

2-3 Days Before the Move

  • Make sure all boxes are labeled accordingly. You can even color-code boxes by room and create an inventory list to make unpacking a breeze.
  • Disassemble furniture that is not being used.
  • Clean out major appliances.
  • Confirm plans with the moving company. Make sure they know the address of your senior living community and how to get there. Also provide your phone number and the number of a helper in case they need to reach you.
  • Prepare a backup plan in case of delays.

Moving Day!

  • Double check the attic, basement and closets, kitchen and bathroom drawers and cabinets.
  • Have payment ready to go for the movers.
  • Be available to answer questions and direct the movers.
  • Consult your inventory of belongings and boxes to make sure everything was unloaded and accounted for once it’s in your new living space.