As people age, they often find that their homes are too big for their needs. Maintenance and upkeep can be costly and time-consuming, and stairs can become a safety hazard. For many seniors, the solution is to downsize to a smaller home or move into a senior living community, assisted living facility, or nursing home.
There are many things to consider when making this decision, such as how to choose the right residence or facility and what to do with your belongings. By following these tips, you can make the downsizing process a little easier for yourself and your loved ones.
- Know what type of residence is right for you.
- Ask for help from friends and family.
- Take your time.
- Tour new residences.
- Look forward to the big move.
1. Find the Right Type of Senior Living Accommodation
There are many factors to consider when choosing a retirement home or senior living facility. The first step is to decide what type of care you or your loved one will need.
If you are still relatively independent and just need some assistance with activities of daily living, then an assisted living facility near you may be the right choice.
If you require more substantial assistance or have memory problems, then a memory care unit at an assisted living facility or a nursing home may be the best option. Nursing homes provide the highest level of care, but they also tend to be the most expensive. (Find out more about costs of senior living.)
Ultimately, the decision of what type of facility is right for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences.
2. Ask For Help Downsizing
Downsizing can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve lived in the same house for decades. That’s where family members can help. They can sort through belongings, help with packing and moving, and even provide emotional support during this transition. For many families, this can even be a period of bonding as you reminisce over shared memories in your home.
With the help of loved ones, separate your items into categories to indicate what you’ll keep in your new home, what you’ll sell or donate to charity, and what you’ll give to loved ones. It may be tempting to want to hold on to everything. Remember that you can keep your most special possessions within your family or group of close friends. Sharing these valuable items with others who can appreciate them is an incredibly special gift for both parties.
3. Take Your Time with the Process of Downsizing
Whatever your new living situation, it’s important to take your time and downsize gradually. Moving is always a stressful situation, but moving from your longtime home to a new, smaller environment or community can add to the emotions you and your family may experience.
Take the process slowly and don’t rush yourself. With your loved ones to help, follow these tips to downsize effectively:
- Declutter your home. Before you can sort through your possessions, it’s important to throw out anything that is simply taking up space. Think of things you keep around “just in case,” like old receipts, unnecessary documents, saved cords, office supplies, or other odds and ends. If you have a large space, you may need to hire a professional cleaning service to help you or spread the process over a few weekends.
- Throw away (or donate) unwanted items. While there are some things that may have monetary or sentimental value and will be worth selling or giving to a loved one, we all have things lying around that would be better used by someone else — or can’t be used at all! This might include old clothing, linens, decorative items, books, or family toys.
- Measure your new space. Once you’ve found your new home, take inventory of how much room you’ll have and what will fit. Large items like furniture are hard to transport, and you don’t want to send them to your new home only to find out you don’t have room.
Your family and close friends will be your best allies in this process, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. By starting early and setting realistic timelines, you can complete your move in a relatively stress-free fashion.
4. Tour New Residences (And Ask Questions)
Finding a new home for yourself or a loved one can be challenging and may take up many weeks or months of searching.
As you plan your move, it’s important to ask plenty of questions to make sure you can downsize appropriately.
When touring potential facilities or residences, ask the staff or tour guide what floor plans are offered, and if the unit you’re seeing is identical to the one that you’d occupy. This is an important way to get your bearings during the tour and start envisioning how you’ll furnish and decorate your new home.
You should also inquire as to what services and amenities are offered at the facility to know how to prepare for your move. For instance, are any apartments or units pre-furnished? Is laundry service provided? What about dining and cooking accommodations? All of these questions will help you determine what to leave behind and what to bring with you.
For more tips on what to look for in a nursing home or assisted living facility, read our helpful guide and download a checklist to take on your next tour.
5. Look Forward to the Big Move
For seniors and their loved ones, the choice to downsize can be an emotional one. After all, this signals a major life change for your family.
However, downsizing and moving to a new, smaller residence can be a positive experience — and even one that you look forward to! In your “golden years” you can enjoy the amenities of an assisted living home and relax in a comfortable, communal environment, surrounded by new friends while still close to home.
As you explore downsizing options, make sure that your next step is an exciting one by finding a community that meets your needs (and then some). Contact our team to schedule a tour of our assisted living and memory care facilities today!