A guide to downsizing for Seniors – tips to make it easier
“It’s never too late for a new beginning in your life”~ Joyce Meyer
The decision to leave the family home and move into something smaller (or into an aged care room) is challenging for many, with the thought of having to physically move particularly overwhelming. Often, when it comes to the monumental task of sorting and selling the home the responsibility falls on family and friends. With this in mind, we thought we’d explore some tips and tricks for making the big move that little bit easier.
If your loved one has mentioned downsizing or is experiencing health problems which make living alone less viable, it might be a good time to broach the topic of sorting and decluttering their home.
Start in the room that is least frequented and sort one room at a time. Divide belongings into four categories: 1. keep, 2. give to family 3. donate 4. discard.
If a move is not imminent, only remove items in categories 2, 3 and 4 from your loved ones home, this will make packing up the home that much easier when the time comes to downsize.
To determine which items to keep, consider asking these questions:
- Does this item hold any sentimental value?
- Is it of significant financial value?
- Will this fit into the smaller space?
- Would a family member or friend appreciate the item or use it?
- Are their several of the same item?
- Is the item used regularly?
A Family affair
Going through old keepsakes and sentimental items can illicit an array of emotions and bring about memories of significant life events. Ensure your loved one is involved and feels in control of the process. Endeavour to make it a family affair by inviting all family members to assist and listen to stories of years gone by. Consider early gifting of sentimental items or family heirlooms for loved ones to enjoy.
For those special items your loved one wishes to hold on to, consider framing them in a keepsake frame which can then be hung on the wall in their new home.
Sell or Donate
Involve tech-savvy grandchildren by asking them to help sell items on online platforms such as Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace. Entice their inner entrepreneur by offering them a commission for each item that’s sold.
For items suitable to donate, there are many charities in desperate need of goods and will collect them free of charge. Starting Over is a local charity providing support and goods to families moving on from crisis. Good Sammy Enterprises will come collect your household items and No Limits Perth accepts all matter of things from food and clothes to larger items.
Decide on a new home
Consider a move that is right for your loved one and their circumstance or care needs. Take the time to understand the differences between retirement living vs assisted living vs residential aged care and which may be right for your loved one. The Richardson, as an aging in place residential aged care home, provides all level of support to residents as required. Consider enlisting an aged care Placement Consultant to find a suitable home for your loved one. Aged care specific financial advisors are best placed to advise you and your loved one on affordability and the best financial option for their next move. Whilst a local real estate agent who is well-versed in your suburb will be best to discuss selling the family home (if this has been decided).
Making a move later in life can be a very emotional time. The thought of moving to a new home and making new friends can evoke feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. That’s why each residential floor at The Richardson is designed for a maximum of 14 residents with their own small communal dining and lounge hubs to provide a welcoming environment where residents may develop meaningful friendships. Furthermore, our Lifestyle team encourage residents to attend activities of interest to them where they will meet like minded neighbours.
Myagedcare.gov.au is a fantastic resource to determine what fees may be applicable for your loved one moving in to residential aged care. The Richardson has a dedicated Community Engagement and Accounts department who can help you navigate through the aged care process.
Professional packers & movers
Once you and your loved one have decided on a new home and all items have been sorted, consider hiring professional packers and movers to do the heavy lifting. Companies such as hire a packer will carefully and efficiently pack and label items for you, removing the stress from this tedious task. Additionally, if there are items that cannot be transferred to your loved ones new home and that no one is prepared to let go of just yet, utilising a storage unit is an ideal solution.
Yes, moving a lifetime of belongings is no small task, but if you start early, take your time and revel in the memories, it can be a job that you and your loved one will recall with a happy heart.
If you wish to speak to someone about your situation or that of a loved one, or would like to book a tour through The Richardson, please don’t hesitate to contact us on (08) 9381 2800 or book a tour online.