Making the move: How grandkids can help grandma and grandpa settle into a new home
Moving is a significant life change for anyone, but many older adults are particularly impacted by the change. Estimates suggest that it takes at least 30 days to adjust to a new home, though that period may be longer for seniors moving from a family home to a retirement community. At Holiday Retirement communities, we’ve found that family support is incredibly important to our new residents, especially when it comes from multiple generations.
Grandchildren are not always directly involved in the decision-making process when a grandparent or other family member selects a retirement community, but they can be one of the greatest sources of support for their grandparents. Perhaps because grandchildren often have relative distance from some of the tough conversations around senior living, they can act as a sounding board for their grandparents and take in their feelings and reactions without having a horse in the race, so to speak. With that in mind, we’ve collected a few ideas for grandchildren, particularly older grandchildren, who want to take steps to help grandma and grandpa feel comfortable in their new home.
Talk about everything
We’ve already suggested that grandchildren play a valuable role as a neutral third party when it comes time to select a retirement community, but the power of conversation doesn’t end there. Disruption of routine is a significant part of why moving can be so stressful for seniors. So, even while you’re checking in about their feelings on the move, be sure to hit other topics as well. If you always talk about baseball standings, talk about baseball standings. You’ll naturally want to reassure your grandparent that this change doesn’t mean everything will change, but demonstrating that fact will carry much more weight than simply stating it.
Own the space
After your grandparents move in, dedicate some time to helping them make the space their own. Before the move, make sure to have conversations about how they might want to decorate and what’s important to keep close. After you’re in the space, help your grandparent bring that vision to life. You won’t just be making it feel like home; you’ll be a part of some of their first memories in that new home.
One of the best ways you can ensure your grandparents don’t worry they will feel cut-off in their new home is to make plans. If you live in the area, make plans to visit them at their new home and go on outings together. If you live too far away to make regular visits, set up a regular time for a phone or video call to catch up. Scheduling your first chat and getting your grandparents connected and doing a trial run with whatever program you choose can be part of your move-in checklist. That way there will be no uncertainty about when you’ll see each other next.
For even more insights on supporting an aging loved one, explore our collection of family support articles, you’ll find tips on everything from multigenerational vacations to self-care for caregivers. And if you have questions about what Holiday Retirement can do for your loved one, get in touch today, we’re always ready to talk!