03 May 5 Tips for Helping Your Aging Parents Downsize
Between leaving their current home, packing up old memories and keepsakes, and preparing for exciting new experiences, downsizing can be a stressful time for your parents. Whether you’re helping your elderly parents downsize to a retirement community or just a neighborhood closer to the family, here are a few tips to help them plan their move.
Remind them of the perks of downsizing.
- A simpler lifestyle free of unnecessary clutter.
- Fewer rooms and items to clean.
- Lower utilities costs.
- Less demanding home maintenance and yard work.
- New friends! Having a smaller home with fewer demands frees up time to bond with their new community.
Make a pre-move checklist.
- Find a moving company for the big day and schedule a date.
- Help them take care of any paperwork like updating their new address with the post office, bank, health insurance, drivers license and registration, and any subscription services.
- Make sure their friends know where to find them! Be it their church groups, book club, or golf buddies, their move will be easier if it doesn’t disrupt their social life too much.
Get organized before trying to pack.
Packing and decluttering at the same time can lead to utter chaos due to confusion over what’s going to their new home, what’s going to charity, and what’s getting tossed out. You don’t want your parents to end up with unnecessary items in their new home, and the whole point is to downsize and simplify!
Get the sorting and purging out of the way before it’s time to start packing to make the move less stressful for everyone involved. Here are a few decluttering tips:
- Sort items in categories that work best for you and your parents. Try “items to donate,” “items to throw away,” “items to sell,” and “items to bring.”
- Your parents probably have sentimental possessions they’re reluctant to let go of. Take pictures of these items so your parents can hold onto them without wasting space in their new home.
- Take it on room by room, otherwise, the whole house will quickly end up in disarray.
- Pack a “first day” box with necessities like medication and toiletries. Keep this box with you in a personal vehicle during the move in case there are delays with the moving company.
- Clean up as you pack. It’s less daunting than trying to scrub the whole house from top to bottom in one go.
- Siblings, grandchildren, and cousins, oh my! Get the family involved to make the move more fun. The physical help is nice, but it also creates a supportive environment as your parents get ready to leave their current home.
- Have a game plan! Think about the layout of your parents’ new home and get an idea of where everything will need to go on moving day.
- Get the essentials out of the way so your parents are comfortable during the rest of the unpacking process. Items like bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom necessities should be unpacked and organized before items like the fine china and the TV.
- Unpack by room to prevent getting overwhelmed. Start with the kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms before moving onto the living room and common areas.
From packing up their old home to getting everything to their new place on moving day, keeping these tips in mind can help make the move a smoother, less stressful transition for your parents. If you find that this is too much work for you and your siblings there is always outside help that you can hire for assistance. Trained professionals that are in business to help with moving elderly parents can be a life saver.