Learn the Rules of Your New Home
As federal and state restrictions begin to ease amid the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be wondering if it’s safe to move to a new home. While moving now requires extra precautions, the good news is you or your loved one should be able to relocate safely to a new residence – even into independent or assisted living in a retirement community.
At a United Church Homes Life Plan Community, guidelines for new move-ins vary. Life Plan Communities offer a full range of care from independent and assisted living to short-term rehabilitation, memory care and long-term skilled nursing. Independent living residents may leave and have visitors. However, dining rooms may be closed during the pandemic and some other services may be temporarily changed.
Finding out what health and safety measures your new residence has in place will help you plan your move accordingly.
Also, if you are moving out of state, check with the Centers for Disease Control about restrictions that may affect your move.
Hiring a Moving Company
Many moving companies have remained open throughout the pandemic. Move.org has a good list of places and their area of expertise (e.g., junk removal or interstate movers) that are open for business. One benefit you might discover is while moving companies may be experiencing less business now, they may be offering outstanding discounts.
Be sure to ask about the company’s COVID-19 policies and the precautions it’s taking to keep you and the movers safe. Ask for a copy of its written plan, which should include how often workers sanitize vehicles as well as how employees wear masks and gloves and maintain a safe physical distance from you during the move.
Consider getting your moving estimate via Zoom or Skype to minimize contact before the move. Most senior living communities also will coordinate the on-site portion of your move to ensure your belongings come in contact with as few people and places as possible.
Preparing for Your Move
Once you’ve hired the moving company, it’s time to pack your belongings and get ready for the big day. Because the virus lives on cardboard for up to 24 hours, consider purchasing boxes to move, rather than using boxes acquired from other sources. If you must rely on used boxes, wear gloves when transporting them home, and let them sit in your garage or basement for a couple days to be extra cautious.
Stock up on cleaning supplies for the move. Some items are still in high demand, including disinfectant wipes and spray cleaners, so make sure you have plenty on hand. Also, invest in masks and gloves to protect yourself or your loved ones on moving day. Finally, have extra hand sanitizer, hand soap and paper towels for the movers to help keep everyone safe.
Take this opportunity to sanitize your belongings as you pack, and finish packing at least 24 hours in advance of moving day to further protect movers in case you’ve been exposed to COVID-19.
The Big Day
Practice physical distancing from the movers throughout the day, staying at least 6 feet apart.
Keep hand sanitizer at entrances and exits and soap and paper towels at all sinks.
After the movers have left, disinfect high-touch surfaces and mop the floors with hot, soapy water. Change air filters to protect the next tenant or owner of your home.
Home Sweet Home
Now that you’re at your new residence, it’s a good time to review the community’s COVID-19 policies.
If you have a kitchen in your home, you may wish to fill your cupboards and refrigerator with extra food to minimize trips to the grocery. United Church Homes communities can also help you set up a grocery delivery service and are currently delivering meals to independent living residents with a dining services plan.
You should plan to wear a mask whenever you’re outside your home to protect yourself and others. Having extra masks will be helpful, so you always have a backup if one is being laundered.
Also, no matter where you’re living, practice safe physical distancing from people who don’t live in your household.
Finally, once you’ve settled into your new home, you might find your community is limiting nonessential visitors, so it’s important to have other means of communicating with friends and family. At United Church Homes, we’ve hired virtual visitor guides, who will help you use technology to stay connected to loved ones.
While moving is a lot of hard work, especially in this time, becoming part of a senior living community where you can receive supportive services can make your life easier and give you more choices in the long run.