Moving checklist: Moving with senior citizens

Moving checklist: Moving with senior citizens

Whether you're helping older family members transition to a care facility, or you're a senior who's downsizing or transitioning, moving as a senior comes with special considerations. Advance planning is key to making the move as easy, safe and comfortable as possible. Here's a comprehensive checklist you can use:

2 months before the move

  • Visit the new home. Whether it's a retirement community or a single-family home, visit the property to get a feel for your new home and neighborhood.
  • Verify mobile access. If you have mobility limitations, verify your new home has the appropriate accommodations.
  • Start decluttering (link to the declutter blog). It's easy to accumulate tons of items over the years, but it's important to start decluttering months before your move to remove the items that you don't use. Enlist the help of friends, family, a professional organizer, or moving company to speed up the process.
  • Plan out the logistics. Get the floor plan measurements for the home you will move to so you know which furniture will fit and which will not.
  • Donate or sell unwanted items. Reduce the number of items you are bringing with you to your new home by selling or donating the items you no longer want or need.
  • Photograph bulky artwork. You can't bring every art piece to your new home. Digitize it by taking a photo of the piece. You can later blow it up as a picture, frame it, and hang it on your wall.
  • Get moving estimates. Contact movers to get quotes so you know what to expect in terms of costs and services. Also, ask for references, and follow these tips to make sure you get an accurate moving quote.
  • Book your movers. Schedule your movers well in advance so you can make sure they have availability, especially if you are planning on moving during the summer months.
  • Make a packing and unpacking plan. Draft out what you plan to bring and unpack in order. Here’s some important packing tips to help with the process.

1 month before the move

  • Contact your doctors. If you move out of the county or state, or you plan to get a new medical professional to handle your care, you'll need to contact your doctor's office to transfer your medical records to your new doctor's office.
  • Create an inventory. Know exactly what you're bringing by making a list of each item.
  • Schedule time off. If you are helping a loved one who is older, make sure you schedule time off in advance so you can focus on moving day.
  • Pack in zones. Start with small rooms or less used rooms, such as the attic or basement.
  • Start packing. Give yourself at least one month to pack up all of your valuables so you don't forget important documents on your moving day.
  • Reconfirm moving arrangements. Contact your local movers to confirm your moving arrangements, including the date and time of the move.

1 week before the move

  • Pack medication. The closer you get to moving day, pack up your medication and put it in one place. Label the bags so that your medication does not get lost.
  • Make payment arrangements. If you have yet to make arrangements to pay your movers, now is the time to get it done.
  • Redirect mail. Fill out a change-of-address form via USPS's website or visit your local post office to forward mail to the new address.
  • Arrange donation pickup. Local charities often provide convenient services for picking up donations at no cost, but they can book fast. So, schedule a donation pickup from a local charity for any unwanted items.
  • Inform billers of address change. Update your address with your service providers, banks and billers so you don't miss any important information.
  • Buy necessary items for your new home. Purchase any necessary home furnishings you need, such as drapes, mats and shower curtains.
  • Clean. Enlist the help of family or a cleaning service to clean your home.

Moving day

  • Verify the movers. Make sure the movers who are helping you move are the ones you hired. Check licenses and company logos on the truck.
  • Hand over the keys. Provide the new owners with the necessary keys to open the front door, swimming pool gate, mailbox and any other door that you had access to as a resident of the home.
  • Check and sign moving documents. Make sure to sign the documentation, such as the bill of lading, for the move. Double-check the fine print, too.
  • Put prepacked items to the front. This helps to save time when moving.
  • Do the walk-through. Along with the real estate agent, make sure you review the condition of the home and that every item is in its place.

After the move

  • Unpack essentials first. Unpack the important items, such as medication and documents, before your other items.
  • Verify automated payments. If you set up an automated payment, make sure the amount is correct.
  • Double-check inventory. Check that all your items are in your home before signing the bill of lading.
  • Set up your utilities. Make sure you start service for electricity and water.
  • Relax. Take the time to unwind and appreciate your new home.

Final thoughts

Moving as a senior or with an older family member comes with a few considerations. From mobility access to creating an inventory list, there are many things you can do to prepare for the move. With careful planning and the help of this checklist, you can make the process go smoothly.