It becomes harder to maintain and manage bigger spaces as you age. This is why your elderly loved ones might be looking to move into more manageable homes. While this can be a new and exciting chapter in their lives, it can be a little stressful to declutter and reorganize — both for you and them.
However, with the help of a carefully thought out approach, downsizing can be made much easier. In this article, we’ll discuss 8 ideas that will allow you to help your elderly loved ones downsize easily.
1) Help Them With House Hunting
To get started, it’s a good idea to help your loved ones with finding a house that suits them best. It is important to keep in mind the affordability and maintenance requirements before buying. Looking for a good neighborhood where your loved ones feel most welcome is something you should keep in mind.
Elderly people are often irritable. So it’s important to look for a neighborhood with low day-time noise levels. You must also ensure the neighborhood is closer to a hospital, which is especially important if your loved ones will live alone.
But remember not to impose your choice on your elderly loved ones. Elderly people are already annoyed at the lack of autonomy that comes with old age. So it’s a good idea to encourage them to make their own decisions.
2) Plan Ahead Of Time
It’s easy to get distracted when you are moving to a new, unfamiliar place. Plus, people tend to become slow with age, so a rushed moving process is a bad idea for elderlies. So helping your loved ones plan things in advance can be very helpful for them.
Deciding what furniture they want to get rid of or what things they want to keep instead of leaving them for the last minute can save a lot of time.
It’s also a good idea to introduce them to self-storage. Elderly people are emotionally attached to many of their belongings. If they’re unwilling to discard them when moving into a smaller abode, storing them away in self-storage units is a good idea.
So identify what is needed, ask your loved ones about the changes they are most comfortable with, and try your best to implement them.
3) Communication Is Key
Downsizing can be an overwhelming task, especially if it means letting go of a home with years of memories. Your elderly loved ones might be hesitant at first. However, it’s important to make them realize the benefits of downsizing and listen to their concerns.
Be patient with your loved ones and listen to them talk about their memories. Being on the same page with them is important to ensure a smooth moving process.
4) Set Achievable Goals
When helping elderlies move, it’s a good idea to break the process into small, achievable goals. That’s because bigger tasks can get overburdening, especially for older people.
The best way to do this is by using checklists. Make sure you create them in consultation with your loved ones, so they have an idea of how future events will go. If they are tech-savvy, creating a shared Google Sheets document outlining all the things that need to be done is an excellent way to set achievable goals.
5) Manage Finances
Many eldleries suffer from dementia, which makes it impossible for them to manage their own finances. Even if your loved ones don’t have dementia, they will still find it difficult to budget for something as complex as moving to a new home.
So one great way to help them as they downsize is to manage their finances for them. Once again, a shared Google Sheets spreadsheet is an excellent (and transparent) way to create a budget.
You can start by listing the big purchases, which will help you draw out a budget. You can then keep adding smaller costs as you go through the moving process to keep your loved ones updated.
Unfortunately, once you have a budget to follow, it can still be difficult to keep track of it. Any new expenses can throw your budget off balance. Small costs can also pile up and make you exceed your financial plans.
However, this can easily be avoided by limiting on-the-spot purchases that have not been pre-planned in your budget.
6) Manage Their Paperwork
Similar to finances, handling all the paperwork that comes with a move can be extremely confusing for elderly people. So it’s a good idea to help your loved ones wade through all the paperwork as they prepare to settle into a smaller home.
A complete change in address requires a lot of documentation. Banks, post offices, health accounts, and things like magazine subscriptions will all require an address update.
New insurance and tax paperwork will also need to be made. You can help your loved ones in this area by connecting them with a suitable lawyer.
7) Help Them With Packing
Packing is one of the most crucial aspects of moving. The most efficient way to help your loved ones pack for a move is to connect them to a professional moving company. Many companies provide packing boxes and materials to make the process easier. Some also pack your stuff for you, which is very helpful for elderly people.
If you don’t want to hire a moving company, here are some packing tips that can help you get started.
8) Be There For Them Once They Settle In
Finally, it’s important to be there for your loved ones after they’ve moved in. They might not instantly feel at home after moving to a new place. In some cases, a complete change of surroundings can also trigger severe confusion and delirium in elderly people.
So it’s a good idea to spend more time with them within the first few days of their move. You can also get them housewarming gifts to make them feel better.