Downsizing is a normal part of aging, especially for those who transition into an assisted living facility or independent living. For many older adults, downsizing can be a particularly emotional experience. Many seniors have lived in their homes for the greater part of their lives, accumulating possessions along the way. Alongside possessions, our homes carry some of our most cherished memories, which can make transitioning into a new residence even harder. While the process will be difficult, there are many ways to make the transition less chaotic. The ideal scenario is to have plenty of time to plan your downsize. if you have lived in your home for an extended period six to twelve months may be needed to carefully declutter, recycle, donate, and giveaway.
Senior downsizing can be a personal experience that is different for every person. However, some common hardships arise with downsizing for older adults.
The task seems too big to handle
When you take a look around at all the stuff you have to move, it probably seems like an impossible task. The key to a successful transition is to start sorting through your things one room at a time. Start by slowly clearing out a bookshelf, a dresser drawer, or a closet, and the process won’t seem as daunting in the long run.
What to give? What to keep?
Everything you own might not give you the same sense of joy it did at one time. If this happens, it’s okay to let it go, even if you’ve had it for many years and even if it is expensive. The goal for a successful downsize is to choose items that are useful to you and help you feel great about your life.
How to sort through clothing
Clearing out old clothing can be surprisingly difficult for many people. For some, clothing represents different parts of their life, while for others clothing is a vehicle of expression. You might consider bringing items that you tend to wear most often while donating those you haven’t worn in years.
How to part with sentimental items
This is one of the most difficult aspects of downsizing. Fortunately, you don’t have to part with sentimental items. If your new home cannot accommodate all of your precious possessions, you might consider asking your family members to keep them safe. This way, your items are accessible when you want them.
If you foresee a potential move in your future, or perhaps your parent is transitioning into a senior living community, there are many ways to make downsizing a manageable task. AARP and Chicago Health published a list of suggestions to make senior downsizing feel less monumental. You might consider using these tips to make your transition a smooth one.
Downsizing comes with unexpected difficulties and obstacles, but fortunately, there are many resources to guide you along the way. The resources below offer many suggestions and tips to make your downsizing transition smooth and stress-free.
AARP provides a “Home Fit Guide” that takes you through each step of downsizing. From packing lists, tips on hiring a contractor, and resources for home design, AARP will give you the resources you need so nothing is a surprise.
National Association of Senior Move Managers helps older adults navigate the emotional and physical nuances that come with downsizing. These managers help with the physical aspects of the move, while also helping you cope with the emotions that come with transitioning out of your home.
Family Caregiver Alliance provides caregivers the resources they need to help support older adults in their time of transition.
At Maplewood Senior Living, we understand the difficulties that come with downsizing. We help seniors focus on all the time and energy they gain by relinquishing the responsibilities of homeownership. Retirement is meant to be a chance to explore new hobbies, rekindle past interests, and find what makes them happy. To learn more about our offerings and how we can help residents cope with their transition, contact us today.
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