Downsizing to a condominium or senior living community is often a good idea for many reasons. Maintaining a large house doesn’t always make good financial sense when only 1 or 2 people are living there. Also, home maintenance and repairs can be a lot of work for seniors and their families. But after living in the same house for a number of years, as older adults often do, the idea of packing up can feel overwhelming.
If this is the situation a senior loved one is in, we have some suggestions that will make the process of downsizing a little easier.
5 Tips for Helping a Senior Downsize Before a Move
1. Determine what matters mostAsk your family member which of their belongings they can’t part with. Together, create a list of things they treasure most. Keep in mind that they likely won’t have as much space as they do now. Also, create a separate list of important items that will need to be rehomed with a friend or loved one.
2. Create a floor plan for the new homeIf your loved one has already chosen their new home, create a floor plan that shows the dimensions, doorways, and windows for each room. If they are moving to a senior living community, the sales team will likely have this ready to share. Measure each piece of furniture or household item your family member wants to take with them. Map out a floor plan of the new home on graph paper or use a free online tool like RoomStyler or Homebyme. This will give the senior a good idea about what will or won’t fit in the new space.
3. Secure treasured possessionsDownsizing and moving is often a hectic and messy process. Before things get too rushed, consider locating a place to securely store family heirlooms or other cherished possessions. This will help eliminate the risk that an important item will be misplaced or damaged. It also makes the house look more spacious to potential buyers.
4. Take your time, if you canFamilies often feel paralyzed at the very idea of downsizing. That’s why many procrastinate. Then an emergency occurs with the senior and the level of stress doubles. Even if the senior hasn’t settled on a senior living community yet, starting early gives them the advantage of time and makes it less stressful for everyone involved.
Extra time will also give you an opportunity to reminisce over old family photos and other cherished mementoes as you and your loved one work your way through each room in the house.
5. Explore local charities that accept donationsHave a plan for what you can do with items that are no longer needed. Often, there are nonprofit agencies in the area that welcome donations. Some even offer pickup services for furniture and multiple boxes of smaller items. It may take more work to find a place to drop off large electronics, such as old televisions or computers. Don’t forget to ask each nonprofit for a receipt to deduct these donations on the senior’s taxes.
Is It Time for Senior Living?
Are you wondering if a senior living community is a good solution for you or a loved one? From personal care to transportation, this list of questions can help you decide!