Downsizing Tips for Seniors

There comes a point in many older adults’ lives when they decide to downsize. They may love their current home and the memories they made there, but it might not fit their lifestyle any longer. Perhaps, without the children in the house, the home is too big. Perhaps they’d like to move closer to family, or somewhere with better weather. Maybe the stairs are too difficult to climb every day.

Whatever your reason for leaving your current home, these downsizing tips for seniors will make the process easier. Remember: organization is key!

Downsizing Tips for Seniors

How do I know it’s time to downsize?

Everyone’s final indication that it’s time to downsize looks different. However, there are a few common reasons seniors may decide to make the leap.

  • You feel isolated in your home. If you live alone, or just with your spouse, large amounts of property can feel isolating. Moving into a community of smaller homes may help eliminate that feeling.
  • You aren’t hosting as often as you used to. There may have been a time when you often hosted holiday parties or family gatherings at your home. If you don’t do that anymore, you may realize your home is too big to keep up with.
  • Home and lawn maintenance is trying. Keeping up with the demands of a yard and multiple rooms is draining. Downsizing can help you minimize the amount of work you have to do around the home.
  • Can you afford to stay in your home? Post-retirement, keeping up with mortgage payments might be a challenge. Moving into a more affordable home could be the answer.

Downsizing tips for seniors

If you’ve decided it’s time to transition into a smaller home, congratulations! This life change, while it may seem small, is still a new adventure that deserves to be celebrated. Moving into a new home can bring a lot of complicated feelings.

It is important that you allow yourself the space to address them. Throughout the downsizing process, take time to reminisce as you work and look forward to the future.

Packing and moving are stressful, so start as early on as possible. You don’t want to scramble in the days leading up to your move. A good rule of thumb is to start about three months in advance. Enlist the help of your friends or family members to make this process easier.

Downsizing is a great option for some senior

Organize your documents first

Before you start going through your things, find all your important documents first. This includes papers such as birth certificates, financial documents, medical records, wills, and more. Spend some time gathering these items, then put them in one folder that you leave in a secure location. In doing this, you won’t have to worry about losing anything in the move, which is easy to happen.

Secure your most precious items

Once your paperwork is accounted for, move on to the physical items that mean the most to you. This could be your wedding jewelry, precious photo albums, or family heirlooms that you want to bring to your new home. Create a separate box for these items—or if they are larger items, put them all in the same area. This will help you keep track of these precious items with more ease.

Consider the size of your new home

Chances are, over your years of living in your current home, you have curated furniture pieces that you absolutely love. While you may want to take them with you, it may not be possible. Depending on the size of your new home, your large sectional couch or dining room table may not fit. If that happens, you’ll need to get rid of these items and buy furniture that fits the smaller area.

If you are not sure whether or not your furniture will fit, consult the floor plan of your new home. In having this document, you can more accurately estimate what will fit, and what might need to be passed on.

Make the moving process easy

Give items away to your family

If you have some items that won’t fit in your home, ask your family if they would like to take these pieces off your hands. This way, you’ll know they are going to a home where they will be loved! Just remember to take care of this process with ample time before you move, as exchanging furniture while you’re also working with your moving company is bound to be stressful.

This is also a great time to pass on any family heirlooms that you have been waiting for the right time to pass down. You won’t have to worry about protecting them in the move, and you will be able to share a special moment with your loved ones.

Decide what to keep, donate, and throw away

With your most important affairs out of the way, you can move on to going through your things. Consider selecting one room a day, so as not to overwhelm yourself, and create three piles—one of items to keep, another of items to donate, and another of items to throw away. Consolidate any duplicates you may have forgotten about.

If you find yourself paralyzed by getting rid of things, a great way to make decisions is to adopt the “one-year” rule. If you haven’t used an item in a year, and don’t see yourself using it any time soon, it is better to pass it on.

Once you’ve decided what to keep, hire a professional moving company to take your things to their new home. They know how to pack and transport your treasured items safely and efficiently.

Consider home care in your new home

One of the main reasons seniors downsize is because taking care of their home isn’t as easy as it once was. In your new home, consider the help of an at-home caregiver. These professionals take care of any activity of daily living you require assistance with. This may include light housekeeping, meal preparation, personal care, and more.

At Home Care Powered by AUAF, it is our passion to offer seniors the dignified support they require to live comfortably at home. If you think you may benefit from the care of an at-home caregiver, give us a call at 773-274-9262. We would love to discuss care options with you.

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