One of the many obstacles seniors may face in their decision to move to a retirement community is their home. While there certainly are emotional ties to a home, often a bigger hurdle is the accumulation of years of stuff. From the garage to the attic, bathrooms and guest rooms, generally shelves, drawers, closets and cabinets are chocked full of things and treasures.
The task may seem so daunting it’s simply easier to put off downsizing for a rainy day which inevitably may mean a person won’t make a decision regarding moving.
We find at East Ridge at Cutler Bay, our residents often say their downsizing was cathartic. They parted with items that no longer held significance. In simplifying their life there was less clutter. They kept things that were meaningful and parted with things that could be given to their children and grandchildren.
Since it’s springtime and a perfect time to undertake spring cleaning, this may be a perfect time to start downsizing even before a move is contemplated.
- Rather than tackle an entire room, start small. Going through a desk drawer or box from the attic will help put someone in a better frame of mind. Taking a small step helps someone gear up to the idea of moving.
- Pick a room that has less sentimental attachment. Start sorting through a bathroom or kitchen rather than a master bedroom or living room. You can get stuck in a rut if you start with a photo box which has emotional attachments.
- Consider hiring outside help. Sometimes it’s easier to work with a downsizing consultant rather than children. They are experienced and can help with what should be sold or donated. There are professional packers who specialize in moving seniors and the senior living community can recommend resources.
- Being patient helps too. If you are helping someone, let them take the time to remember and listen to their stories. Many memories are triggered by a memento or picture.
- Hold back criticism. When opening cabinets and drawers, it may be tempting to comment when discovering someone’s lack of housekeeping but being kind goes along way.
- Help sort. Like anyone, seniors tend to keep things they don’t necessarily need or will ever use. When suggesting getting rid of possessions, a good barometer is to ask if they will use the item or if they would mind if you donate it. Suggest that someone in the family may want it and use it. It’s often easier to give things away if they are going to a good home or helping raise money for a charity.
- Focus on the most-used items when determining what you can let go. What seems old and useless may give someone great comfort and joy and therefore be worth saving.
- When facing hard choices about possessions, talk about its story, where it came from and when it was last used. A young family may put it to good use and appreciate it. If you are able to talk things through it helps someone have a clearer perspective and feel more able to let it go.
- Collections take up a great deal of space but by sorting and only moving favorite pieces it may cut down the collection. Take only the best or favorite. Take photos of the rest of a collection and keep these in a special book. It’s not the same thing as owning but it’s a space saving way for a collector to continue enjoying.
- Give treasures special places in a new home. These are ties to your past and your history.
At East Ridge at Cutler Bay, South Florida’s only life care community, our team of marketing consultants is here to help families when they want to relocate to a retirement community. We also have special display cases residents use to showcase their collections and they share their treasures with others to enjoy.
To learn more about East Ridge at Cutler Bay, please call 305-256-3564 to schedule a tour.