Downsizing: How to Help a Parent Move into A Senior Living Facility
It’s amazing how many things we can squeeze into a house over the years. Perhaps it’s the “just in case” or the “it was free” mentality that make us hold on to many of these insignificant items. Imagine having to leave the house you’ve lived in for most of your life. For seniors, it can be an overwhelming experience. It’s important to open the lines of communication and discuss with your loved one the benefits of moving.
The suggestions below are intended to help make a smooth transition from home to assisted living.
Keep. Toss. Donate.
It’s important to work at a comfortable pace and take plenty of breaks. Think of downsizing as something that takes months and not days. It will make it less stressful for your parent if only a few rooms are addressed in one sitting. Handle an item only once. If it’s chipped or broken; get rid of it. Frame questions in a yes/no manner in order to eliminate any maybes. If there are some questionable items, talk to your loved one to see if someone else can benefit more from that object, if so, place it in the donate pile.
Use your Future Space as a Guide
Be realistic about how much room you have to work with in your loved one’s new space. Measure the cabinets and closets and even mock up the living quarters to make sure the items in the keep pile will fit.
Focus on what your parent uses the most. You may instinctively want to pack the fancy china and glassware, but the reality is, your parent may only use the old and mismatched plastic cups and plates. While these items may seem worn and unsightly, it may give her comfort to use familiar items from her house.
Sorting through the different treasures can take a lot of time. Practice patience and sensitivity as your parent goes through her belongings. Remember, these treasures have been accumulated over her lifetime - allow time for reminiscing. For the important items she can’t take with her, take a picture and make a book so she can still remember those moments. You can take it a step further by writing a story to go with each picture.
Make it a Family Affair
Have fun! Invite friends and family over to help her tackle this task and use it as a bonding experience. It can be a wonderful opportunity to honor the things she loved and to say goodbye to the things she no longer needs. Your parent can share stories about her favorite items with the little ones as another opportunity to make more memories at grandma’s house. Keep in mind, it’s the memories you cherish and not the things around you.
Schedule a Tour Today
At Catholic Eldercare, our assisted living residences help restore your loved one’s independence. We cater to the needs of today’s seniors to make life simple and comfortable. Our convenient location in Northeast Minneapolis allows many opportunities for socialization, recreation, creativity, and spirituality. For more information or to schedule a tour, call us at 612-605-2515. We look forward to celebrating the next chapter in your life.