The family home has many sentimental memories attached to it. This is the space where the children ran and squealed in happiness. It is the shelter that kept loved ones safe during times of emotional and physical distress. The building holds the family’s most cherished possessions and has been carefully preserved through the years. Nothing can be harder to release, but there comes a time for seniors when physical safety, financial concerns, and family connections make moving to a different location the best possible choice. Usually, the new home is much smaller than the original house, and downsizing is vital.
Seniors who must move into a smaller dwelling should do so slowly and systematically, and loved ones and caregivers can be a great help. The following tips make downsizing go as smoothly as possible so that seniors have an easier time dealing with a move:
• Allow plenty of time for making the transition. Decisions made in haste are often regretted, and seniors do better when they have time to adapt to new ideas and places.
• Plan for the new residence first. Make a list of the furnishings and other items that will be needed for everyday use. Move these first or pack them to be moved so that all other items will be a matter of choice.
• Once the basics have been designated, go through each room and mark those objects that hold such memories that they should not be discarded. If the object will not fit into the new space, mark it to be given to a family member and ask them to pick it up immediately if they desire to have it.
• When moving through each room, keep a garbage bag handy and throw away everything that no longer has financial or sentimental value.
• When objects such as baby clothing or mementos have only sentimental value, consider grouping them and taking a close up photograph of them to preserve the memory so that disposing of them is easier.
• When items are still useable, but no space is available for them, consider selling them online or in an estate or yard sale. If money is not needed, many charities would love to have these items and will often come to pick them up. Friends might even feel honored to have a reminder of the good times that they have experienced at the home so let them go through and take anything that will not be moved to the new location.
• In most towns, there are people who are willing to take the leftovers from any yard sale in the area, and these same people will often clean out the remaining remnants of the household once the move has been made. Check newspaper ads or Craig’s List for someone willing to remove unwanted items free of charge.
Seniors should always be allowed to choose several cherished items for their new home, even if their choices seem senseless to others. This helps them feel connected in their new environment.
Claire Bradshaw writes for a site that has advice on grants for stairlifts for seniors with limited mobility looking to improve access in their homes.