Tips for Downsizing Your Home
For many seniors, there will likely come a time when the decision to move out of their home and into an assisted living community or apartment becomes inevitable. The need for such a move can happen for many reasons. Whether the move is medically necessary due to changes in health or a desire to minimize costs, downsizing can be a challenge.
Reasons for Downsizing
Everyone's situation is different, and the reasons for moving out of a large home and into something smaller or in with a family member vary by person. Here are some of the main causes why a senior citizen may make the decision to downsize their home and make a move:
1. Medical Need.
Changes in health care may make the decision to move a necessity. Living at home may no longer be a viable option, especially if the affected person lives alone. Depending on their injuries or illness, a spouse may not be able to provide the care they need. In these situations, a move to a senior care facility might be the best choice.
The option to move into a loved one's home versus a retirement community may be an option depending on the medical care that is needed. Living with a family member can be very rewarding, but downsizing will surely be a must in these situations
2. Minimize Cost and Upkeep.
A house can be a lot of work to maintain. Yard and lawn care during the summer, shoveling snow and scraping ice during the winter can be a lot of labor that an older person may not be capable of doing. They may also just not want to do it anymore, which is as valid a reason as any!The financial cost to maintain a home may also become detrimental. A smaller apartment or living in an assisted living community may be a better choice financially for persons on a fixed income.3. Live closer to loved ones.
It is quite common these days for older Americans to move closer to where their children and grandchildren are living. Jobs move families across states and across the country every day. Once a person is retired, it may be desirable to downsize their home and their possessions so they have the freedom to travel and live where they can be near family.
No matter why your loved one is moving, the process of downsizing and letting go of cherished possessions can be very emotionally charged. A lifetime of collecting memories can be difficult to let go. An older person who may have lost a spouse may have an even harder time. The most important thing when helping a loved one scale down their possessions is to be understanding and allow them to grieve for the items they are letting go.
Tips for the Downsizing Process
The biggest factor in what items can be kept or must be repurposed depends on where the senior is moving. If their health requires them to move into a long-term care facility or in with a family member, space options may be quite limited. An assisted living community or independent living apartment will have more room to allow for furniture and other items to be brought.
1.Furniture: Once you know where your loved one will be moving, you can start the process of downsizing by evaluating the large items. If bringing furniture is not an option you can donate it to any number of charitable organizations in your community. There may be sentimental value or an heirloom piece that you wish to keep in the family. This can also help your senior loved one feel better about letting go of certain items.
2.Basic Need Items: Based on where the senior is moving, you will want to determine what items he or she will need. It's a good idea to go room by room and make a list of what things are must haves. Likely there will be more than one coffee pot, more than enough mugs and a plethora of linens and bedding items. There won't be room for everything, and everything won't be needed, so determine what items you can do without and put it in the donate pile.
If you are moving to an assisted living community that prepares all your meals, you won't need to bring your entire collection of cookware. However, if you are downsizing to an independent living apartment, you may want to consider bringing more kitchenware. It will be important during the downsizing process to be realistic about your needs. Downsizing is about simplifying and decluttering, so be mindful about what you will really need for daily life. As much as you may have loved to grill in past years, bringing your large smoker to your new home likely isn't going to be practical.
3.Sentimental Value Items: This can be the most challenging part of downsizing. It can be hard for anyone to let go of something that brings them happy memories or reminds them of a particular time in their life. You'll want to help your loved one choose the items that are the most important – wedding albums, photographs of children, etc. An entire collection of 100 clay owls may need to be trimmed down to just a few of their favorites. Consider taking photos of larger items that cannot be brought to the next home.
Remember that leaving behind a lifetime of memories and possessions can be a difficult situation for anyone. Be supportive of your loved one during the downsizing process and subsequent move. There will be a transition period of adjustment and settling in that may take a little while. A daily phone call or regular visits to your elderly mother or father can help them begin to feel more at home in their new surroundings.
If you are considering a move to an assisted or supportive living community like Evergreen Senior Living
, contact the community resource coordinator at the location nearest you for more information and helpful tips on moving and downsizing.