In this month’s OutreachNC newsletter, we explore the experience of downsizing. Thousands of seniors downsize each year, moving into smaller homes, moving to be closer to families or even moving into care facilities with much-needed services and amenities. Whatever your reason for downsizing, it’s a major life transition. There are ways to make the experience less stressful and more positive for everyone involved.
AOS Care Manager and Aging Life Care™ Professional Ashley Seace offers her expert tips and tricks for making the most of your downsizing journey and avoiding as many stressful pitfalls as possible!
5 Tips for Downsizing with Ease:
Tip #1: Make the Decision
Deciding when to move a loved one can be a challenge for a family. If your loved one is living independently in their private home but can no longer complete their activities of daily living or are not safe without around the clock supervision, it is time to consider a move to assisted living. If your loved one cannot sustain the cost of in-home care long-term, then it is time to consider a move to an assisted living facility that is manageable in cost.
Tip #2: Choose Wisely
Knowing the space that you are moving into is helpful for deciding what to bring and what to leave behind. If you are moving from a private home to an assisted living apartment, you won’t be able to bring everything with you. Pick out the pieces that your loved one is most connected to and move those. You may want to consider moving a favorite painting or a decoration for a shelf that they love. The family can then decide if there are items they want to keep in the family or sell. You would want to look for items that are family heirlooms or have been in the family for years; other things that are newer or haven’t been around as long can probably go into a donation pile if they do not have much sentimental value.
Tip #3: Ask for Help
The physical part of moving is always a challenge. If you want to hire movers to do the heavy lifting, word of mouth is one of the best ways to find someone. You probably know someone that has had to move at some point, and they hired a company to help them. Ask them about their experience with the movers and the office staff, what the general cost was for the move, were they prompt on moving day, how did your items look when they arrived?
Tip #4: Give Yourself Extra Time
Setting a moving date is not always the easiest either. If you are looking at a move from an independent living to an assisted living, then you would coordinate the timing with them as well as within the family. If you are doing a move like this, you should give yourself at least a month to prepare and execute the move, then at least another month for the family to go through the previous apartment and decide what to keep, sell, and donate. In addition to beginning the packing process for the move, you will likely have a pile of paperwork to fill out and that can take time to review, then sign.
Tip #5: Find Professional Support
It is recommended that families work with an Aging Life Care™ Professional to decide when to move their loved one and then to make sure the move is executed well. Aging Life Care™ Professionals are the experts in the area for picking out a moving company, making sure the individual is moving to the correct level of care, helping the family understand what they will need in the future, and then helping the family with clearing out the previous living arrangement. Care managers can take the burden of stress that comes with moving so that families can enjoy their time with their loved ones, rather than having to be stressed out that something won’t get done or something will be missed during the move.
For more on the art and science of downsizing and all other topics related to aging with success, sign up for our monthly newsletter.