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Helping Seniors Downsize and Clear Away Clutter

Helping Seniors Downsize and Clear Away Clutter

Moving into assisted living or a smaller home may be necessary to improve safety as seniors age. However, this also means having less space for furniture, décor, clothes, and other items. Many older adults have lived in the same home for years and accumulated lots of belongings, as well as made a lot of memories. Downsizing can be challenging, especially from an emotional standpoint.

But the reality is, your loved one simply cannot take everything they own with them. Start having these conversations early on, if possible, before your aging parent finds themselves in a situation where they are forced to quickly relocate, such as after an injury or illness. Get them used to the idea of living in a smaller space and having to choose what they want to take along.

Plan Ahead

Once you have found where your aging parent will live, take a look at the available space. Plan out where they can put furniture, what will go in different closets or cabinets, and how much storage they have. Work together to make a list of essentials – things they absolutely must bring along. Then create a list of things they would like to have if there is room.

Share Sentimental Items

As your loved one is looking through their belongings, decide what mementos they want to pass on to children, grandchildren, and others. This can help keep these items in the family and give others a way to remember cherished memories. Seniors can be more at peace knowing that some of the things they love will not be lost or forgotten.

Donate to Those in Need

Encourage your senior to donate items they can’t or don’t want to take with them to charity. Remind them that these things will help people who may not otherwise be able to afford them. Their belongings will find a new home and bring joy to others instead of going to a landfill.

Capture Memories

Take pictures of things that hold a lot of meaning to create a visual reminder of the memory instead of keeping the actual item. Simply looking at the photo can help seniors recall stories that they can share for years to come. It’s not always about the physical item, but what it represents and the memories that are attached to it.

Take Your Time

Give your aging parent time to look through everything, and keep them involved in the decision-making process. Certain things may not be hard to part with, and that can make a dent in the cleaning process. Other items may require more consideration and conversation about what to do. Be empathetic but also realistic. Patiently listen to the stories your loved one wants to share and write down these memories so they’re not lost, but also help them make hard decisions about what to keep.

Downsizing can be hard, so remind them of the positives of making a move. This could include things like having less space to clean and organize, fewer bills to pay, no stairs to climb, easier access to things they need, or closer to family. Always Best Care can help you understand options for in home-care in Boulder County, CO  and senior living communities. To learn more and schedule a care consultation, contact us.

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