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“No-stress” is not a concept that many people associate with moving. Or the holidays. Or moving during the holidays. But, surprise! Moving during the holidays can actually be handled gracefully and with a minimum of stress. In fact, it can actually be the perfect time of year for senior adults to move – particularly into senior living, says Mary Scott Russell, Director of Community Relations of East Ridge at Cutler Bay, Miami-Dade County’s only true Life Plan Community.

“There are many benefits to moving into senior living during the holiday season,” Mary says. “Not only can you potentially get a discount on moving services, you also have more of a selection when it comes to different floor plans and communities. Many seniors choose to wait until the beginning of the year to move or research moving into senior living, so this is a really opportune time to make decisions without having to rush.”

Nonetheless, navigating moving while dealing with the holidays does require a little extra coordination. We’ve put together a brief guide on how to make this transition as smooth as possible while still leaving time to enjoy the season.

Tip #1: Postpone or scale down holiday celebrations.

Instead of worrying about managing the perfect holiday while also moving, choose instead to enjoy the season in your own way. This could mean scaling back the celebrations or postponing them altogether until you’re situated in your new home.

Tip #2: Pack a “decorate for the holidays” box.

Having cheery seasonal decorations is a great way to warm up a new place. As you’re packing away your personal items, be sure to set aside a small box that contains your most cherished ornaments and decorations to transform your new senior living space into “home.” Make sure you keep the box with you and easily accessible so you’re able to easily decorate your new home without having to dig through a plethora of moving boxes.

Tip #3: Watch the weather.

Although all of our communities in Florida have the benefit of generally good weather year-round, that doesn’t mean we can’t have rainy or cold weather. It’s a good idea to check with your moving company and make sure that everything is squared away at least a week before your actual move. If rain is in the forecast, you’ll need to be sure that all your belongings are protected (whether with tarps, covered trucks or other options). At the same time, you’ll want to take steps to ensure that the home you’re moving from is protected from the elements during the move.

Tip #4: Get paperwork in place before you move.

Moving requires many physical documents, even in today’s digital world. Make sure that you have everything in order before you start packing the moving truck – this will help cut down on confusion and frustration. Be sure that you’ve set up a change of address, have all your personal documents and information on hand as well as any paperwork needed to secure your place at your new space.

TIp #5: Measure twice, pack once.

Downsizing plays a huge role in moving to senior living. Before you make any decisions on what to take, be sure that you have accurate measurements for your new living space. This will help you determine what items you should keep, and what new things you should buy. Depending on how large your family home is, you may not wish to lug your bedroom set to the community and instead opt for buying something new, smaller and sleeker. You’ll also want to be sure that every item you choose to take with you has meaning or value. Since you’re more than likely downsizing your space, you’ll need to invest in items that can do double duty, such as storage. By knowing your space measurements, you can make better, informed decisions about what to take and what to give away.

TIp #6: Gift away.

What better time to gift heirlooms and items to family members than at the holidays? This is the perfect opportunity for you to pass along family pieces, favorite items and other things in your home that you won’t be taking with you … but you know your descendants would love. If your family members are in town, give them the opportunity to go through the house and make requests for what they’d like. The answers might surprise you. If family members live far away, consider doing video chats or putting photos up on the cloud so they can call dibs. Be sure, though, to let them know that they need to take the items before you move – otherwise those items will have to be stored or (gasp) go into the donation bin.

Tip #7: Take time to celebrate.

Even though you’re busy getting ready to move, don’t forget about the joy the season can bring. Be sure to make the most of this time and give yourself ample opportunity to enjoy the sights, sounds, tastes and feelings that this season can bring. Don’t be so focused on the move that you miss an opportunity to celebrate the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one. By commemorating this time of year as a special one, you’ll be able to look back on it with fondness and as a source of great stories for years to come. Be sure to document everything with photos, videos and time together as much as possible. You may be saying goodbye to your old home, but you’re also saying hello to new opportunities and a new stage of life.

About East Ridge at Cutler Bay

East Ridge at Cutler Bay is Miami-Dade County’s only true Life Plan Community. The nonprofit community draws from the neighborhood charm of suburban Cutler Bay and the vibrancy of Miami in a lush tropical setting of 76 acres, located at 19301 SW 87th Avenue. The community offers a continuum of care including independent, assisted living and memory support residences in a neighborhood setting, respite care and skilled nursing, and rehabilitation services available within Three Palms Health Center.

For more information or to schedule a tour, please call 305-256-3564.