How to Help a Senior Loved One Downsize
By Michael Longsdon
Downsizing is becoming an increasingly appealing option for older adults everywhere. According to Senior Lifestyle, 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 intend to move in the next five years. Among these, downsizers outnumber upsizers 3 to 1.
It’s easy to see what makes downsizing so appealing. It allows seniors to simplify and streamline their life, getting rid of the things they don’t need so they can focus on the things that matter to them. However, this doesn’t mean that it isn’t an emotionally fraught and logistically complex undertaking. If you have a senior loved one who is planning to downsize, here are a few ways you can make the whole process easier on them.
Visit Prospective Homes With Them
House hunting can be overwhelming, so volunteer to tag along as your loved one looks for their new home. The purpose of this is twofold: it allows you to offer moral support but also to look for elements that make for a safe and appropriate home for a senior. This guide has some great advice on this, including key modifications you might have to make.
If they are going into assisted living, you should not assume that any facility will do. Read this article from the Long Term Living Association explaining the common mistakes families make when looking for assisted living to make sure you are going about it the right way.
Go Gentle With the Decluttering
Yes, dramatic decluttering is an important part of downsizing. Most seniors will need to get rid of a lot of stuff to move to a smaller place, and they are probably aware of this. But that doesn’t make it any easier. Older generations are less likely to have been exposed to the modern obsession with minimalism and simple living, so they might struggle to accept the need to simplify.
So take it slow. Give yourselves plenty of time to go through everything, and try to make it a fun and positive experience. It may be useful to introduce them to a few decluttering methods to see if they prefer one. The KonMari method, designed by Japanese tidying expert Marie Kondo, is particularly popular at the moment and focuses on identifying the objects that “spark joy.”
Packing and moving boxes may seem straightforward, but there is a huge potential for injury. If the family is going to be helping out, make sure everyone knows how to lift heavy objects safely. Make sure you know where you’re going and that the way is clear, stand with feet shoulder-width apart, and lift from your legs rather than your back.
Hire Professional Help
Alternatively, you could simply hire professionals to do all the heavy lifting for you. This is probably the best option because it makes everything a lot easier for the family. It can also allow the senior to remove themselves from the process and avoid the pain of seeing their home being emptied.
First, hire a cleaning service to do a one-time cleaning of your home so it’s in acceptable condition for the new owners. In Concord, a maid service will cost you $176 on average. You can find great, affordable moving services online. HireAHelper has thousands of customer reviews, helping you make the best decision for your family. Do make sure you are aware of peak moving season, though, as it can affect prices and availability. In the U.S., this is April to September. Depending on the size of your home, you can expect to pay anywhere from $95 to $199 an hour for a move in Concord.
Downsizing is one of those things that is incredibly hard to do, and yet when it’s over, people often wonder why they didn’t do it sooner. Seniors may struggle to understand this at first, which is why they need the support and assistance of their families to smooth out the process. Remain patient, positive, and encouraging; they will be thanking you once it is all over.