Downsizing tips for seniors

Once your loved one has made the decision to move into a retirement residence, it's time to help them decide what's going with them. Downsizing can be a stressful situation, especially for someone who has difficulty parting with personal items, regardless of whether they are prized possessions or not. Some individuals may pair specific memories with certain objects, which can make the process of cutting back difficult. No need to worry—here are some of the ways to help ease the transition for your loved during the downsizing process.

Plan it out
AARP suggests establishing a plan for tackling your loved one's house before you begin to downsize. Start in the room that holds the most important items, such as the bedroom or living room. After you have gone through the house, head outdoors to the shed and garage. These items will be easier to give away as your loved one won't need things like lawn mowers or shovels at their new retirement home.

Before the move, also try measuring exactly how much space your loved one will have in their new living arrangement. Include counter space, storage space and open living space in the estimate. For some perspective, consider marking off an area of their current home that's the same size as their new place so they can visualize how much space they'll have. This can help in the downsizing process by setting expectations for the move.

Helping your loved one downsize can help with the transitioning process.
Helping your loved one downsize can help with the transition process.

Include all family members
AARP suggests involving all of your loved one's immediate family when it's time to help cut back. Including the entire family in the downsizing process can help as precious or no longer needed items can be distributed throughout the family and put to good use.

"Donate items to support local thrift stores."

Consider donating unwanted items
Instead of throwing away unwanted clothing, memorabilia and treasures, ask your loved one if they are interested in donating them. AARP recommends donating unwanted items to a thrift store or local charity—such as a children's camp or soup kitchen—as it may not only help your loved one to feel good about downsizing but motive them to get rid of more things.

Remember: downsizing leads to a fresh new start for your loved one in their retirement community, and will help to lighten their life. Getting rid of unwanted items before helping to move your loved one into their new space will make the transition much easier for everyone involved, so be sure to make a plan well in advance of a move-in date!