There comes a time in many lives when a person is unable to take care of themselves like they used to. Whether your loved one is forgetting their medications or having difficulty with daily routines, assisted living may be the best solution.
However, getting our loved ones to understand and support this decision is a sensitive issue to navigate. Uprooting their life and moving them to a new home is not without it’s challenges. One of the best ways to create a smooth transition is to keep them involved throughout the process, especially when it comes to downsizing.
Let’s face it. Your loved one may have lived in their current home for decades. They’ve collected special trinkets and stored away clothes that no longer fit. Crafts and photos from the grandkids cover the house. There’s bound to be stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. To you, it may look like junk, but to them, it’s their entire life gathered around them to look back on.
It may not be easy to understand that some, maybe most, of those items will have to be left behind, but there are steps that you can take to help move the process forward.
Steps to Downsize
The first thing to remember throughout the process is to involve your loved one in the conversation. It’s a hefty load, but remember that a large part of their life was spent in this home and much of the “stuff” holds special memories for them.
After you’ve readied them for downsizing, start with the basics. Request a floor plan about the new residence so you know how much space your loved one will have. They will have a better idea of what they can bring and what will need to be left behind.
Second, rule out existing rooms that are included in the facility, such as the dining room or living room. This will help your loved one realize the need for extra furniture and other decor won’t have a place in their new residence. For the items that may be more sentimental that they truly don’t want to get rid of, arrange for a family member to hold on to them for safekeeping.
Finally, plan for the items that are absolute necessities, like medications, legal documents, heirlooms, and hobby items. Once these are established, your loved one can then decide what comfort items are leftover in the house that they have room to take with them.
Sell, donate, and recycle any unwanted items that remain. It may also be beneficial to hire a senior transitioning service as they will often go through the items for you to help decrease the workload. Less stress will allow for a smoother transition for all family members involved.
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