The process of moving to a new apartment can place tremendous stress on your body. Constant lifting, bending, and reaching can strain your joints and worsen an existing ailment. Residents with disabilities or mobility issues should always seek the help of friends and family or hire professional movers. What you pay for in packing and moving fees will eventually pay for itself when you walk into your new home with a clean bill of health and a lower back that hasn’t been put under constant tension.
Unfortunately, the high cost of hiring professional movers may prevent your loved one from seeking the help they need. Instead, they may need to rely on help from others or perform the entire moving process alone. If your loved one cannot find outside help and must pack and move alone, they should take the necessary precautions to prevent a serious injury.
Seek Financial Assistance
The steep costs of hiring movers may be outside your budget, but with a little financial assistance you may obtain the necessary funds to hire a helping hand or two. Disability.gov is a phenomenal resource with comprehensive information on all things related to disabled individuals. This site covers everything from Fair Housing laws and disability rights to financial aid and transportation.
The International Center for Disability Resources on the Internet (ICDRI) suggests that you utilize the Disability.gov website to search for funding within the Social Security program. Grants and housing assistance may be covered by Social Security, which can cover the cost of moving. In their article “Practical Moving and Relocation Advice for the Disabled,” the ICDRI advise movers to prepare a list of needs before approaching these organizations: “Make sure you come up with specific details about your needs. Write down all aspects of the relocation that will require funding assistance such as hiring a relocation company, building a ramp, or conducting necessary renovations.”
Create a Plan of Attack
Before you or your loved one move a muscle, walk through the entire home and make a list of items that you can and cannot move by yourselves. These items include large furniture, book collections, safes, and televisions. Afterwards, decide which of these items can fit in the new senior apartment and the ones you must donate or sell. This simple step will clear your mind and give you a better sense of what to focus on.
Start Small, Lift Small, Pack Small
In life and in packing, the little things matter most. Trinkets, family photos, and souvenirs, though small and compact, take more time to wrap and pack than larger items. Start with these items first and use this time to clear away and clean the home.
When purchasing your packing supplies, opt for multiple small boxes instead of large ones. Small boxes will be easier to lift, and you can also organize belongings into smaller, more precise categories. In her article “All about Moving Boxes,” Diane Schmidt, a moving expert from About.com, adds, “Even if you’ve hired movers, remember that you may have to move the boxes yourself, from one room to another, so make sure you’re able to lift them yourself.”
Watch Your Back
When it comes to carrying and transporting large boxes, your back (not your arms) does most of the heavy lifting. Combined with the degeneration of the spine from old age, constantly bending over and carrying boxes can strain your lower back further and make it difficult to lift objects, stand, or sit.
The key to preserving your energy is to keep an eye out for your lower back. Lift with your knees by squatting towards boxes, not by bending over and picking up with your hands. Additional devices such as hand trucks, lower back braces, and wheeled carts will help you move large items and maintain the integrity of your back.
A great tip provided by the Senior Citizen’s Guide to Connecticut in their article “Downsizing Your Possessions without Moving” advises movers to “use a long portable folding table to spread out your items. If you are removing things from the closet, the table can be a handy place on which to put your found items. Working at waist height, rather than bending to the floor and back up will save you energy.”
When in Doubt, Wait It Out
If you or a loved one find yourselves in a situation where you must move a heavy box or climb a shaky ladder, do not take a chance and do it yourself. Leave these items for a friend, neighbor, or moving professional. As much as you want to pack up and go, the last thing you want is a trip to the doctor to delay the move even more. Take your time, know what you can and cannot lift, and work at a pace that minimizes stress and maximizes results.