By the time your loved one reaches retirement age, they have likely accumulated years’ worth of memories, rich life history, and mementos throughout their lifetime. When transitioning into an independent or assisted living community, clearing out the clutter and organizing belongings are key parts in starting fresh in a new home. Many items from the past are no longer needed, wanted or utilized – and it’s the perfect time to downsize a lifetime’s worth of items into a manageable collection of keepsakes that will bring comfort to their new home.
What Are the Benefits of Helping My Senior Loved Ones Downsize?
Downsizing for older adults can be beneficial in many ways. It can reduce expenses, minimize maintenance and cleaning, and create a safer living environment. It also allows seniors to focus on what’s important by decluttering and simplifying their living space, making it easier to navigate and reducing stress.
For those considering downsizing, here’s a breakdown of the benefits:
- Saving money
- An opportunity to declutter
- Fewer items and space to care for and less upkeep
- More time to focus on fun, family and friends
- Safer environments (such as moving to a home with no stairs)
- Great amenities in a senior living community
What Are Some Tips for Downsizing and Decluttering?
Once you’ve decided that it’s time to downsize, it’s time to jump in! For many seniors who are downsizing, it helps to accept assistance of family members and friends during downsizing and throughout the moving process to reduce the heavy lifting and the stress of the situation.
While it may seem like an enormous task, there is no reason to become overwhelmed by downsizing. To help get started and keep things stress-free, here are some downsizing tips for seniors:
- Start early. Downsizing can be overwhelming, so starting as soon as possible is important. Give yourself plenty of time to sort through your belongings and make decisions.
- Enlist help. Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance from family members or friends during the downsizing process. Professional organizers or senior move managers can also be hired to provide guidance and support.
- Start with a single room and move on from there. Working to declutter and downsize one room at a time will simplify the process and make it easy to keep common items together for the move. Closets may seem daunting, but they are a great place to find long-forgotten items that will be easy to organize and part with.
- Sort items into piles: Keep, Toss, Donate and Sell. Putting items into piles helps keep things organized throughout the decluttering and downsizing process. Titling the piles Keep, Toss, Donate or Sell keeps the process simple. If there are heirloom items to be passed down to family and friends, that could also represent a pile.
- Be sure to get rid of unused or unsafe items. Items that can cause hazards include things like rugs, old medications, broken items or power tools. If there is a question about an item’s safety or how often it is used, try the 90-day test. This means putting items in a box or a pile for 90 days and tracking if the item is used.
- Get rid of duplicates. It is amazing how many duplicates can be found when downsizing a home. Removing extras is a great way to let go of clutter without stressing over parting with sentimental items. Things like towels, scissors, cookware and soaps are examples of things that often pile up over the years.
- Measure furniture and the new living space before moving. It’s important to know exactly what size the new space is and what items will fit where.
- Be storage smart. In a senior living community, or anywhere with a smaller amount of space, it will be important to stay organized and store things simply and meaningfully. Use baskets or bins to store like items and to contain clutter.
Downsizing and Moving to a Senior Living Community
A premier senior living community will make every effort to help you downsize without compromise. Personal residences are created to suit each resident’s personal needs and accommodate their sense of style. A full range of amenities and common areas complements the accommodations. With such stellar amenities as a fitness center, pool, multiple dining venues, convenience store and library, seniors can enjoy everything a downsizer could want right at their doorstep!
Checklist for Packing and Moving
For many seniors, their last move was many years ago. So, there are a lot of questions and new challenges when approaching the moving process. When the time is right, here are some tips for helping a senior loved one make the move to a senior living community:
- Plan ahead, and create a moving and downsizing checklist
- Downsize possessions
- Involve loved ones, friends and family members in downsizing and purging
- Measure the furniture and the new living space before moving
- Be ready to combine the old and the new
- Pack one room at a time, and use labels to keep items organized
- Consider hiring a moving company for the big day
- Embrace technology to save photographs, videos and space
- Take time out to deal with stress or anxiety – rest helps!
Moving into an independent living community, assisted living community or nursing home offers seniors the ability to share space by sharing community spaces – such as a swimming pool and community gardens. Communities offer common areas, including dining rooms and fitness rooms, meaning private rooms can be kept for personal items and comfort. Here are a few ideas for making the most of a smaller space:
- Utilize multifunctional furniture, like a Murphy bed or a coffee table with storage
- Use folding chairs for guests
- Take advantage of built-in storage spaces
- Consider quality over quantity
- Invest in moveable pieces, like utility carts
- Make the most of the closet space
About Tutera Senior Living & Health Care
Leaving the lawnmower, snow shovel and wheelbarrow behind feels good. Senior living communities feature a variety of valuable services to keep the interior and exterior of residences in tip-top shape. From biweekly housekeeping and linen service to scheduled transportation, residents can even get rid of their car when they choose the right senior living community.
Tutera Senior Living’s memory care communities are designed to respectfully support residents. Our expertly trained team members are available to assist residents 24 hours a day while supporting residents’ mental, physical and emotional needs. All memory care activities allow residents to maximize their capabilities and their independence while offering help as needed. With the care of our memory care experts, residents have access to therapies, socialization and fitness programs to give them the best possible quality of life.
Interested in finding a Tutera Senior Living community near you? Use our community finder tool to see how close we are to your community. Have questions or concerns? We would love to talk. Call us today to get answers, reassurance and support.