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Helping Your Senior Loved Ones Downsize

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A young daughter and senior father carrying boxes into new home.

As people age, they usually won’t have the same space requirements. So, downsizing becomes a necessity in many cases. Fortunately, many great independent living or assisted living communities are available to choose from, depending on a senior’s needs.

On the other hand, downsizing and moving into a new home is often met with some resistance. Some professionals specialize in assisting older adults with downsizing and organizing a move. But these can be an unnecessary cost.

Chances are you’re looking for ways to help your loved ones downsize if you’re reading this. Keep reading as we lay out some assistance tips like identifying essentials, being systematic, or getting rid of things without losing the memory.

Tips to Help Your Senior Loved Ones Downsize

There’s no right or wrong way to help a loved one downsize for retirement. Each person has different needs or abilities. The following are a few tips you may be able to implement.

Identify Essentials

There will likely be a lot of unnecessary items and even junk if you’re helping a senior loved one who has lived in the same home for many years. Things have a habit of accumulating over time.

One of the first steps in the downsizing process is determining the essential stuff. For example, your loved one may be able to save a lot of space in their new home by getting rid of some of their clothes or kitchen appliances.

Other examples of essential items may include:

  • Certain keepsakes
  • Bibles, books, or photo albums
  • Medications
  • Important paperwork

Use a Systematic Approach

Downsizing already has the potential to be an overwhelming experience for some seniors. This can be further increased during the potential chaos of the process. Using a systematic approach is an excellent way of minimizing the upset.

Going through the home one room at a time is a good systematic approach. Part of this approach would be deciding on the “rules” ahead of time. This helps to avoid keeping unnecessary things.

Get Rid of Things Without Losing the Memory

A significant reason that many seniors struggle with downsizing and moving is that sometimes the stuff that fills their home holds a lot of memories. So, it can quite literally be an emotional and painful experience for them to get rid of things.

Sometimes, taking a picture of the thing to keep instead of the object itself may work. This will enable a senior to hold on to the memory without cluttering up a new suite, especially if space is limited.

Consider the New Home

When planning to downsize, it’s important to consider the new home. You’ll want to account for the layout and the space. For example, a senior may be going from a large family home, down to a small 1 bedroom suite in an independent living community.

Suppose your loved one is moving into a senior community. In that case, there will likely be amenities or services that minimize certain needs. Things like meals and organized activities are often included in many senior communities. This may change what the senior must bring to their new home.

A  smiling young couple standing at a table with a Garage sale sign and selling stuff in backyard.

Assist With Selling

Things your loved one is not bringing in their move aren’t necessarily garbage. In many cases, there won’t be anything wrong with them. One good option is donating unwanted stuff to a second-hand store so that someone else may benefit from the things.

Another great option nowadays is selling things. Depending on the season, a big garage sale may be possible. Otherwise, selling online is usually pretty straightforward. Platforms like Facebook or Kijiji make it easy to find buyers.

What Not to Do When Helping a Senior Downsize

Helping your senior loved one downsize and move can be a frustrating experience. Here are a few things you should avoid when going through the process:

  • Excluding your loved one from the process: Even if they can’t make 100% of the decision alone, this is still their life. So, it’s important that they aren’t excluded from any decisions.
  • Getting angry: It may be especially easy to allow the frustrations to get the better of you, especially in cases where the senior is also struggling with cognitive or memory issues. But getting angry and frustrated will not help the situation.

Discuss a Future With Us

The decision to downsize shouldn’t mean that your loved one has to sacrifice what they want or their quality of life. If you’re considering communities in Powder Springs with your family, give us a shout. Our helpful team can answer your questions or book a community tour.

Ginger Laprise

Written by Ginger Laprise

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