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Senior Transitions – An Emotional Time (Part One)


By Mary Holmes

When it comes time for a senior to transition from their life long home into the next stage of life, the range of emotions they may experience is vast, e.g. fear, sadness, confusion, anxiety, loss, relief. Most likely, each of these emotions will come and go throughout the process of transitioning. There are many reasons why a later-life transition can cause such turmoil. For example:

  • Overwhelmed by the Process – Most times a transition for a senior not only involves moving but a downsizing as well, since their new home will, in most cases, be smaller than the home they are leaving. Starting this process is very difficult and most seniors put it off much longer than they should. During this period of procrastination, living conditions may be unsafe for their current physical abilities. Additionally, they may have an even more difficult time with the process as they age.

  • End of an Era – If a senior is leaving the home where they raised their children and created many wonderful memories, it is a very hard decision to leave – even if it is the right decision. This is made worse by the fact that the senior knows they will not be able to take all those memories with them, as they downsize their belongings.

  • Beginning of the Final Stage of Life – The fact that this may be the last move a senior makes can obviously cause many emotions. They may realize that they will have a great quality of life in a retirement community – living among their peers, having many activities to participate in, not having to worry about an immense amount of house or yard work; but knowing that this may be their last stage of life can cause a great deal of stress.

  • Letting Go – Saying “good bye” to possessions can be tough at any age – but in particular when it is combined with so many other emotions, as is true for a senior. The process of making a decision on the right course of action on so many items that have various levels of sentimental value is not only exhausting for most seniors, but it is often quite sad. This feeling is exacerbated by the fact that many of a seniors' beloved possessions that they want/need to downsize do not have the value they had hoped. You may find this article helpful to understand this issue: Click Here

  • Family Expectations Not Met – Another situation that may cause an emotional reaction in a senior is the actions of their family members. In the best possible scenario, the family members of the senior will not only help throughout the downsizing and moving process, but also take all the possessions that the senior can’t take with them. For a variety of reasons, this does not always happen, which can cause disappointment and sadness for the senior.

There are ways to reduce the stress associated with a senior downsizing and relocation, which we will discuss in our next post. In the meantime, if you have questions – please Contact Us.

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