The subject of downsizing can be a difficult conversation for many seniors to have. While from an outsider’s perspective, it is the obvious choice and the most practical decision to make, from the inside there are many emotions and memories tied up in a home. Chances are, your loved one has lived in this home for decades and major life events have taken place between those walls, making it more challenging to make the decision to move. Below are a few things to remember that can make the transition a smoother for everyone.
Approach the topic with patience and understanding
This is a major life change for your loved one and should be treated as such. Resolution may not come from one single conversation so be sure to approach the topic of downsizing with patience and understanding as this is likely a difficult conclusion for a senior to come to. Having an open conversation where both parties talk and share their feelings is recommended while treating the situation as though it were an intervention is not recommended. Your loved one will feel the most confident in this life transition if they are 100% on board and feel as those they are part of the decision making process.
Family Matters can help you map out a plan for your specific needs, so your only focus is what you need to do and leave the rest to the professionals.
Find the right place, not just any place
Once they are on board, if it is possible, involve them in the process of finding a new home. Whether it is a retirement community, nursing facility, a smaller home or apartment, or even living with a family member allow them to have a say in the matter. There may be extenuating circumstances to take into account such as memory loss, trouble with walking, medication requirements, budget constraints
Family Matters can connect you to the right person to help find your new home for free!
Start the cleaning process early
After selecting a new place to live, you will know the size of the new space and can begin to make decisions on what furniture and how much stuff will be taken over. This will likely be one of the most challenging and emotional parts of this process. Your loved one has collected many items throughout their life that each has associated memories with them. If time permits, start the process of de-cluttering early and move through the house slowly. Start in a small room first that has little sentimental value, such as the laundry room or hall bathroom. This will allow your loved one to “get their feet wet” in the process of sorting out their belongings and give them the confidence to move forward. Move through each room one by one and make decisions on what to keep, what to pass on to family members, and what should be donated. Again, compromise may be required on both sides so treat this emotional process with a lot of patience!
Free of charge, Family Matters can help you choose what to bring to your new place, so you can save money and space.
Downsizing a senior’s home can be overwhelming for all involved. If at any time you feel you need some help, feel free to contact Family Matters. We have years of experience helping with family transitions and can help make the process a smooth one for all parties involved.