Every year about 130,000 people leave their home and enter into care accommodation: and moving home can be stressful for anyone, but it can be particularly difficult for an elderly person who may have significant health problems.
Many thousands more will be moving out of their family home and downsizing into a retirement apartment, or assisted care development.
“In most cases,” says the website’s MD Deborah Stone, “a move involves a lot of upheaval and there are many things to think about and organise. Once you’ve gone through the process of selecting suitable care accommodation and have decided to make the move, you’ll need to start notifying a number of service providers, make arrangements to transport your possessions and prepare for the move. Almost inevitably members of the family will also get involved too and it’s important for them to think ahead as far as possible, to make the transition as happy as possible for everyone concerned.”
If you currently own your own home
You may need to put your property on the market. You should contact at least three local estate agents to get an idea of the market value and fees involved, and consider the way they will market the property and what they are currently selling within your area and price range. You should also source a solicitor to act for you on the sale and purchase – try and get some quotes on the services before you decide. If you are considering renting out the property, ensure you use a letting agent registered with both ARLA and SAFE to ensure you have an extra level of protection should problems crop up.
If you are currently renting
You will need to consider the notice period that you will have to give your current landlord and work this in with the date you will be able to move. You can check this on your tenancy agreement or by contacting your landlord/lettings agent.
Once you know the date…
As with any house move, it’s important to let family, friends, utilities and service providers know that you’re moving, and give them your new address. People you’ll need to contact can be viewed here:
With your utilities, you’ll need to read the relevant meters and note these for the final accounts. In some cases, you may be entitled to rebates. You should also notify the GP, dentist, optician and other relevant healthcare professionals, as well as:
- Local authority (for Council Tax)
- Inland revenue
- Building and contents insurance companies
- National savings and premium bonds
- Social security / DWP
- Magazine and other subscriptions
- Newsagent (if you have home deliveries)
- Breakdown cover
You may also want to consider arranging for your mail to be redirected for a time. Try to do this well beforehand – you can do so easily through the Post Office for a fee.
If someone else is handling your affairs
Many of those making the move into care may require assistance from a family member or friend. If this is the case, remember that they may encounter issues around confidentiality unless they have authority to act on your behalf. This is where having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place will not only be helpful but possibly essential.
Think about what items you’d like to take to your new home and what’s already there. Remember that you will almost certainly be moving into a smaller space. If so, you may want to ask a friend or relative to help you work out what you can feasibly take with you and then arrange to either sell or give away what you cannot take.
You may also need to arrange for a removal company to transport your possessions. If so, use a member of the British Association of Removers. It’s best to get at least two quotations for this and decide how much help you will need.
If you can pack yourself, you may well save money, but do not take any chances lifting or moving objects that could put your health at risk. Ask your friends and relatives to help, and you might also ask them to save their boxes and packaging materials – although removal companies will also supply these as part of their service.
Arrange a home visit
It’s a good idea to arrange a home visit to your new home at least a week before you move in to check where things are and to familiarise yourself with the layout and facilities. Ask a friend or relative to come with you on the day and take the time to chat to staff and residents and ask any questions you may have.
Now make yourself at home
Once you’ve unpacked, it’s time to settle in! Take the time to get to know your new home and feel comfortable. Explore your surroundings and get to know the people – it will take time to adjust and for you to feel relaxed and comfortable.
Concludes Deborah Stone: “Like any big change in life, moving home can mean making a lot of adjustments and giving up some familiar things. It’s a matter of ‘reframing’ the situation and recognising the positives that will result.
“For many people, moving into care accommodation or a dedicated extra care facility can be the start of a positive new life – with the opportunity to meet new people, enjoy an active social life and have many of life’s day-to-day problems dealt with for you!”
Read the full checklist here