For adults over 60, only a divorce or a spouse’s death is more stressful than moving out of their homes. Helping a senior downsize involves more than just sorting through possessions. Realize that these items symbolize a lifetime of memories and saying goodbye to them is uncomfortable for them. Because this is not a typical move, we have put together suggestions to help you make this a stress-free transition for your loved one.
Tips for a Successful Senior Downsize
#1 Take a Slower Pace
For the duration of the project, think months rather than days. Many seniors cannot physically spend hours sorting and packing. If you only have a limited time to dedicate to this, consider hiring a Senior Move Manager to help downsize. These professionals work with the downsizer for a few hours a day, sorting through many of the contents in the house. They also ship packages to relatives, arrange charity pick-up or haul items to the landfill.
#2 Solicit Yes or No Answers
If the senior is moving into an assisted living facility, they may not need but a few necessities. Go through groups of similar items like kitchenware and narrow down their choices. Show them your selections and keep your questions to yes or no answers. For example, do you want to take this skillet and sauce pan? Too many choices can frustrate seniors because they realize the enormity of the task ahead.
#3 Measure Their New Space
Storage is limited at many retirement homes. Know how large their new room and closets are. This will limit what you need to move. If possible, take photos of the space. Put together a floor plan to show the senior what to expect and what pieces of furniture will fit. It will also eliminate their fear of moving somewhere unknown.
#4 Try to Avoid Storage
If you do not have the time to go through everything, avoid cramming stuff into a storage unit. It will drag out the downsizing process and saddle you with monthly rental fees. We all hold onto items due to the memories associated with them. The senior may no longer need some of their possessions but cannot emotionally part with them. Explain that they will not see their belongings if they are packed away in storage. It is better to give them a good home elsewhere.
#5 Take What Is Used
Like most of us, many seniors have things they have not used in a while. Discuss their daily routine. Determine what they regularly do and re-trace their steps through their home. Find the items that are used the most and pack them. Everything else gets reviewed.
#6 Work in Small Areas
Purge and pack one room at a time. Discuss what furniture, artwork, books, clothing and collectibles the person might want to keep, sell or give away. Clear each room completely before moving on. Drop off items to charity or ship boxes out to family and friends within a few days of packing them up.
Stuff is Just Stuff - Don’t Get Overwhelmed
As the comedian George Carlin once said, “A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.” The process of downsizing is an emotionally unsettling time for seniors. It can also be overwhelming for those who are guiding their loved one through it. Hire a professional to handle the sorting, packing and distribution. Spend quality time with your parent, spouse or friend. Stuff is just stuff after all. Being there for your loved one will mean more to them than keeping a toaster oven.
Busfreighter.com – Passing the Savings on to You
If you are helping someone downsize and they want to send boxes to their family cross-country, let Busfreighter.com and Greyhound handle the shipping for you. Non-breakable items like books, kitchenware and clothing are some of the things Greyhound buses can transport in unused cargo space. The more you ship the more you save. They can even arrange pick and delivery! Consider the Busfreighter.com advantage and discover a better way to ship long distance. Visit www.busfreighter.com, fill in the Instant Quote & Ordering form, get your quote and order.