Downsizing Tips for Seniors

Many things go into making the decision to relocate yourself or your loved ones to an independent or assisted living community. It is typically a process that involves research, asking questions, assessing finances, taking tours, working out care plans and more. It can be overwhelming. But by the time the decisions are made and the dotted lines have the signatures they need, you may heave a sigh of relief, allow yourself to feel growing excitement about your new home and think, “Now all that’s left to do is move—and that’s the easy part.”

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but moving is rarely ever the easy part. 

Downsizing for a Move: The Reality

Our homes carry with them great weight and meaning. After all, they are where we spend the majority of our time. However, they contain more than just our memories—they also contain our stuff. And no matter how mindful we are about our possessions, many of us would agree that we have too much stuff. Indeed, research bears this out. In survey after survey, a majority of people say that they need to declutter, but they find doing so to be overwhelming. 

There’s nothing like an impending move to a senior living community to make us realize we need downsizing help.

Downsizing Help for Seniors

The opportunity to move to a Samaritas senior living community is also an opportunity to take a personal inventory—literally—decide what stays and what goes, and start the next chapter of your life with a clean slate. If the prospect of culling your possessions is daunting, we are here to help with downsizing tips for seniors and those who are helping to move them. 

Prepare yourself mentally. No matter how smoothly it goes or how much downsizing help you have, downsizing for a move is stressful. Acknowledging that and keeping the end goal—a better, healthier living space that you don’t have to spend so much time cleaning and organizing—in mind can be key to a successful downsizing and moving experience.

Plan accordingly. One of the things that makes downsizing for seniors such a challenge is that frequently it has taken years, if not decades, to accumulate the possessions you’re now trying to pare down. As such, it stands to reason that what took a significant amount of time to build is going to take some time to dismantle. Consider your timeline and allow it to inform overarching objectives such as how much to tackle in a day or week.

Call in some downsizing help. Our biggest and best downsizing tip for seniors is to make it a family affair. Rather than sifting through a lifetime’s worth of accumulated memories by yourself, invite siblings, children and grandchildren to help. They will benefit by getting to hear stories and seeing items that they have never heard nor seen—some of which can be gifted to them—and you will get the downsizing help you need. Downsizing for a move might not seem like fun on the surface, but with some boxes of old photos and an array of snacks for the family members who show up to assist, it can be a pretty good time for all. 

Accept the mess. No matter how much downsizing help you have, downsizing for a move is an inherently messy endeavor. This is definitely one of those times when you will have to make a mess in order to bring order to your universe. Take an organized approach to your temporarily cluttered existence, put some music on in the background, and focus on one space at a time. Be sure and keep one spot in your home clean and free of clutter. Everyone deserves an oasis at the end of the day in which to relax, feel satisfied about the work done and make a plan for what is left to do. 

Work in spurts. Downsizing for a move is hard, emotionally overwhelming work. You might think that knocking it all out at once is the best way to go about things, but that is a recipe for burnout. Work diligently until you start to experience alert fatigue—or just regular physical fatigue—and then take a break. Have faith in yourself and the fact that it will all get done. The best downsizing help you can give yourself is to have faith in yourself and the fact that it will all get done. 

Decide where to offload your unwanted possessions. The whole point of downsizing for a move is to get rid of things that you no longer need or want. In order to make them disappear from your life, you will have to make a plan for where your things will end up. Professionals who provide downsizing help for seniors suggest sorting into piles things to be kept, that which will be gifted to family and friends, and stuff to donate or discard. It is also a good idea to learn about the donation landscape where you are so that you are ready to drop off items or, even better, have them picked up by a charitable organization or someone who provides downsizing help for seniors. 

Moving is no one’s idea of a good time, but downsizing for a move can be rewarding and your first step toward a rich, full life in a Samaritas senior living community. We hope these downsizing tips for seniors will help you to plan for and execute a move with as little stress—and clutter—as possible. Contact us to learn more about our Michigan senior living communities and how you can come home to Samaritas and all we have to offer.

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(516) 637-0597

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Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications
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