5 Tips for Senior Downsizing
It’s time for Mom and Dad to move into a place that can take care of them.
The good news is that they agree it’s time. The bad news is that you are looking at a family home with thirty or more years of belongings, and wondering how you’re going to deal with it all.
It’s not a simple process, not physically and not emotionally.
Here are 5 tips for making it go more smoothly.
- Start downsizing early. If the move is brought on by a sudden event, such as a stroke, it’s too late for this. However, if you see a move coming, whether it’s a few months or a few years down the road, you should get started as soon as possible to make the process low-key and stress-free.
- Start with the easy stuff. The worst way to start what will be an emotional process is with an argument about Mom’s collection of teapots, which you never particularly appreciated.
The kitchen might be an easier starting point. If your parents are moving to facility that provides them with meals, they may only need a handful of cutlery, a couple of plates and bowls, and their favorite cups and mugs.
- Have a floor plan of the new space. Your parents’ new home will almost certainly be smaller than their current one. Knowing exactly what size their new rooms will be makes it easier to select the furniture that will actually fit.
- Get help. Is it too much for everyone? There are companies that specialize in helping seniors downsize. In addition to having employees who are screened and bonded, a moving company that specializes in senior moves is more likely to have employees with the compassion required to deal with an older couple downsizing a lifetime of memories. They’re also not as sentimental as you and your parents are, and that level of dispassion will come in handy.
You will need a high level of trust in the people who will be advising you about what to do with many of your parents’ possessions, some of which may be quite valuable, so be sure to ask friends for references, read Yelp and Better Business Bureau reviews, and consider companies associated with respected organizations, like National Association of Senior Move Managers and Caring Transitions.
- Pack the memories, not the objects. Eventually, the time will come to talk about the teapots. Start by acknowledging Mom’s feelings (even if you don’t share them). Letting go of a treasured collection that will not fit in her new home will involve a form of bereavement for her.
Sometimes, people can hold on to the memory of certain prized possessions while letting go of the objects themselves. Perhaps Mom could keep her two favorite teapots. Taking pictures of the rest of them (and possibly printing and framing a collage of all the pictures), could go a long way to mitigating her feelings of loss.
Moving is never easy, especially for seniors. But handled compassionately — and as slowly as possible — it can be done in a way works — while preserving family relationships.
If you need help with your loved ones’ long-term or short-term move to a facility — whether it’s how to downsize or how to navigate the Medicare maze — contact the experts at Laurel Bay Health and Rehabilitation Center, in Keansburg, NJ.
Our residents receive the highest quality rehabilitative and skilled nursing care in a homelike and compassionate environment conducive to healing.
Our family-owned and -operated 123-bed facility, is tucked away in the quiet beach town of Keansburg, NJ at the Jersey Shore, within sight of Sandy Hook and the New York City skyline.
Our services include short-term rehab, long-term care, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, hospice care, and respite care for those times when the caretaker needs to be taken care of.
We proudly provide the following specialty healthcare services: complex medical care management, intravenous (IV) therapy, wound care, enteral feeding, pain management, oxygen therapy, tracheostomy care, a dedicated pulmonary program, hospice care with private suites, a stroke rehab program, respiratory support, eye care, dental care, podiatry care, and psychological consults and counseling.
We pride ourselves on healing the entire patient through a holistic and individualized approach.
Our meticulous care planning helps us ensure that each and every resident receives the best in clinical care, support and unconditional love.
For over 25 years, we have been a staple of health and wellness, serving the members of our community and partnering with our local hospitals like Bayshore Community Hospital in Holmdel, NJ and Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, NJ.
We provide a tailored program of physical, occupational and speech therapy, as well as all types of specialized care under one roof.
Read our reviews on senioradvisor.com, wellness.com, and caring.com to hear what our residents and their families have to say.
Or better yet, come see for yourself. Contact us to schedule a tour by clicking here or by calling (372) 787-8100.
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