Finding the right housing option is a critical decision for ensuring your health and happiness as you age. Choosing to move to more suitable home can be a great decision, but it is usually bitter-sweet as you say goodbye to the place you’ve called home.
“Saying goodbye to a place where you’ve been living for a long period of time can be extremely emotional,” says Ellan Dickieson of Senior Transitions Made Simple. “It’s not just four walls and a roof, it’s your home.”
There are many things that you can do to honour the cherished memories, comforts and securities that your house has offered to you and your family over the years. “Creating some type of ritual around your departure is always beneficial in having closure,” says Dickieson.
Here are five ways to find closure as you say goodbye to a place you’ve loved and called home.
- Create a time capsule that you can leave for the future owners. This is a fun thing to do. You hide a time capsule in the form of a tin can or plastic Rubbermaid container with some significant mementos inside. You can include things like a family picture, pictures of the house, current day coins, newspaper, and a note to the people who are finding the capsule.
- Write a letter to the new occupants of the house. Tell them about the great memories that you have created in the home and how it served you and your family. Tell them about the positive vibes that you have felt while living there and what you hope their experience will be like. You don’t have to hide this one, leave it as a welcome gift when they arrive. You may even want to include a small gift like a plant or bottle of wine.
- Take time by yourself or as a family to step into each room and share a memory from that specific space. This might be a child’s bedroom where you recall spending many hours in the rocking chair singing lullabies. It might be your bathroom where you recall fun baths with the kids or lovely quiet bubble baths. Your dining room will likely be a place with many memories of great family meals with friends and other cherished loved ones. Take the time to reminisce.
- Give yourself a departing gift that reminds you of your home. This can be a painting of your home or a professional photograph of the space. It may be a scrapbook with some pictures of your favourite family memories from the home or your front porch welcome sign re-purposed for your new home.
- Be sure to plan a final send-off event to your home. We’ve all heard of housewarming parties, and this is the same idea but the opposite. Plan a big bash or a small family barbeque. You can even incorporate some of the ideas above into your event. Moving is a busy time, so be sure to set a date and a time as to make sure it happens.
Giving yourself the time and space to say a proper goodbye is important for your emotional wellness as you transition to a new home. Incorporating the above suggestions will allow you to properly finish one chapter before you start the next.
Ellan Dickieson is a registered Social Worker and the Founder of Senior Transitions Made Simple. She empowers seniors overcome later life challenges and live out their vision for aging.