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Reducing Moving Stress on a Senior Family Member


January 10, 2015

As a person grows older, his or her health becomes hampered as a result of the natural aging process. While this does not mean all seniors are bedridden or incapable of caring for themselves, it is a sad reality for some. When such situations occur, the lack of independence or even the fear of losing their independence brings with it several doubts in their minds. Under these circumstances, senior citizens often get stressed when they are forced to face a situation that calls for a move, either to a nursing home or to the house of a relative or family member.

Moving stress or relocation stress syndrome, as it is often known today, cannot be avoided given the fact that the elderly prefer and value their independence and privacy to a great extent. However, where it is absolutely necessary and unavoidable, this stress can be reduced greatly by adopting certain measures and following some particular steps.

Involving Seniors in the Planning Process
A great deal of moving stress can be avoided if the seniors in question were involved in the entire planning process. Often doubts and worries occur when the elderly are not given proper information about the shift, what to expect, and the reasons for the move. Giving complete information to senior citizens, allowing them to voice their doubts and worries in the planning stage, and dealing with it maturely helps resolve several problems while also reducing stress considerably.

Similarly, it is also important to know their opinion before planning any relocation or move on their behalf. It allows the family member or caregiver to understand the reasons behind the stress while also helping them find ways to reduce it. It's advisable not to make false promises or coax the elderly into making any unwanted move, because this can negatively affect their self-esteem and confidence. When a move is absolutely essential, it is important to ensure that the senior knows about it and understands its importance.

Let Seniors Keep the Reins of Control
Seniors, in general, prefer to be extremely independent and self-reliant. So, when a move is thrust upon them, it is common that they will react negatively. The best way to reduce the problems related to such unavoidable moves is to give seniors the reins of control. Let them be in the driver's seat as much as possible to help them handle the stress better.

Understand and Accept the Senior Citizen's Needs for Comfort
If senior citizens have lived in a particular manner for years, it is often difficult to expect them to adapt to a change overnight. A simple solution to this ever-present problem is to ensure that the new place is similar to the old one. In short, try and replicate the new surroundings as per the old one wherever possible to make sure that the senior in question feels comfortable and at home in the new premises.

Additionally, it is important to consider the opinion of the individual with regard to the amenities, décor, and other details that the senior would require in the new home. Seeing to it that the new premises are as per the elderly's requirements is a step toward ensuring a stress-free move.

Empower Seniors
When the elderly lose their independence or cannot really live as they used to, it affects their self-esteem and confidence. Under these circumstances, it is important not to dent that self-esteem further. Making certain that the seniors have something to look forward to can make things easier. Ensuring their wellbeing often includes allowing the seniors to find meaning and purpose in their life, while letting them play the role of decision makers for their own future. Allowing the seniors to identify and nurture a hobby or some new interest would help ensure that the move is stress-free.

Always Remain Calm and, When Required, Seek Professional Help
Anger and unnecessary arguments, although often part of any uncomfortable decision in the family, should be avoided during a move involving seniors. Very often, friends and family members tend to alienate the senior in question merely by trying to force the decision of moving on them. Family members should ideally remain absolutely calm and talk to the elders. As mentioned earlier, understanding their reasons for not welcoming the move and reasoning with them as to why the move is beneficial is the best way to reduce stress.

However, where such techniques do not work and the senior citizen remains adamant, it is time to seek the help of professionals. Counselors, moving specialists, and other experts in this arena are perfect for handling such situations, as they have the required experience and know-how when it comes to interacting with the elderly.

If the above steps do not work and the senior citizen is determined to stay living independently, there are other ways you can oversee his or her safety and wellbeing. One of the solutions is installing a medical alert system that will allow the family members and caregivers to keep in touch with the elderly in times of emergency. These alert systems are specially designed for seniors who wish to remain at home and are also perfect ways of ensuring that the elderly can actually live an independent life and get access to quick medical attention in case of a slip, fall, or other emergency situations, giving their relatives peace of mind.


Personal Response Corporation is America's trusted provider of medical alerts with over 20 years experience. With their emergency alert systems, seniors can live independent lives and their families can avoid stress and rest easy knowing they'll be helped in a timely and fully prepared manner in the case of a medical emergency.

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