Tips for seniors downsizing before moving to assisted Living

Tips for seniors downsizing before moving to assisted Living

When the time comes to make the switch to an assisted living community, a few changes may be in order to facilitate the transition. No matter how high-end a senior care service is, chances are that seniors will face a reduction in living space. This inevitably means that they also have to part with a couple of things. It can be a challenge for anyone, really, because, regardless of age, moving is always stressful. More so in such cases where some tough decisions need to be made. To make that journey a little bit easier for everyone involved, here are a few downsizing tips.

  • Be understanding

If you’re helping a senior downsize in readiness for smaller accommodation, our first piece of advice for family members is to put themselves in their loved one’s shoes. Try to walk a mile in it to understand what they’re feeling.

To you, what may seem like junk to throw out and quickly get it over with may be a source of comfort and timeless memories for your loved one. Give them the time and space they need to say their farewells to belongings they won’t be bringing with them. More importantly, offer gentle encouragement and always be empathetic.

  • Don’t procrastinate

Tomorrow never comes. Putting off things can have you and your loved one rushing to sort things out when there’s little time to spare leading up to the big move. And when the process is rushed, the elderly don’t often take it well.

Our senior community in madison team, therefore, advises starting as early as you can. 12 to 6 months is considered a great window, but generally, you want to avoid doing too much in a single day. You could take a room-by-room approach, at a pace comfortable to your loved one’s ability. 

  • Toss non-sentimental stuff first

We tend to keep a lot of trash lying about the house without knowing it. You’ll uncover lots of things during the downsizing process that fall in that bracket. Some of those items include:

  • Expired food items
  • Medications well past expiry
  • Basically, anything that takes up space and serves no purpose anymore. 

Give away what you can, then shred and toss those that you can’t. This is also a great time for everyone to claim their keepsakes. Again, you’ll need to take it slow and easy. Incorporate regular breaks so that your loved one doesn’t feel overwhelmed. 

Bonus tip: you may be surprised how much non-sentimental stuff you can uncover quickly if you start in the garage or kitchen. Begin with these areas and you may be more pumped to get through the rest of your house.

  • Divide and conquer

You want your loved one to do as little of the heavy lifting as possible. So it may be prudent to get some extra hands on deck from the rest of the family. If everyone is busy through the week with work and school responsibilities, you can always make arrangements for a little downsizing get-together over the weekend.

Not only will you take the strain off but it also affords priceless moments for your loved one to connect with the family and share their feelings with everyone, as they claim their keepsakes. Advisably, our community senior living specialist recommends coming up with some sort of duty resort to clear up how everyone will chip in. It may also be prudent to enlist the services of professional movers to offer sound and neutral guidance. 

  • Set up an “undecided” box

It may not be outrightly clear what your senior wants to keep, lose or give away. That’s one of the reasons why we recommend starting early so that you give your loved one enough time to make up their mind.

Therefore, it doesn’t have to be black and white when it comes to toss-or-keep choices. Afford a third option in between, and get a designated space to store these items. Keep in mind that your senior may need to look through stuff a couple of times so they are more confident in their eventual decisions. 

  • Look on the bright side

Your loved one’s leaving a home with many memories to cherish. That’s difficult no doubt. But there’s much positivity to look forward to in an assisted living care residence. For instance,

  • They get to make some new friends
  • Chores may no longer be among their day-to-day
  • They get to go on amazing field trips and adventures with their peers, and much more

If your loved one is feeling down about the move, it may be because they haven’t spared a thought for what lies ahead. You’d do well to gently remind them of the many good things they’re in for. Make it clear that it’s not the end of the road but rather the start of a beautiful new beginning. 

  • Visit your new home often

Pay a visit to the new apartment with your loved one, and spend some time there every so often to also gauge the quality of their assisted living services. You could choose to spend a day every fortnight there, so the new environment becomes more familiar to your loved one.

This is also important for getting a better feel of the space you have to work with and helps your loved one to visualize just where they’d want their belongings. In the end, you’ll be able to plan better for the downsizing. 

A “First Day” Box can provide comfort

The first day may be especially rough for seniors transitioning into a new home. The unfamiliarity of a new environment, no matter how grand or elegant compared to their old abode, may get the better of them. To ease this uncertain period of homesickness, if you will consider putting together a first-day kit or box. This should contain a few important basics e.g. toiletries, kitchen supplies, etc., that will help them settle in better. Look through our blog for senior assisted living communities for more tips for senior care. If you’re looking for a good community where your loved one can belong, our doors are always open. Reach out today.

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