Many seniors still live in the same home where they raised their family. Having spent much of their lives growing up in this house, it’s not unusual for them to feel a strong connection (and attachment) to their property.
However, many people reach a point when a family home becomes too big, or expensive, to maintain on their own. A large home can even become unsafe—posing potential tripping hazards for the elderly. Plus, most people want to make the decision to downsize on their own terms vs. feel forced into it, due to an illness, an injury, or financial strain.
That’s why downsizing homes for seniors can be a smart move for many—yet it can also be a tricky topic to broach.
6 Downsizing Tips for Seniors
Downsizing can be stressful for some seniors, especially if they’ve lived at the residence for years. They may have bought that house with a late partner, raised children there, and built a whole life in that home.
Here are a few tips to help you start the process.
- It’s important to approach the topic carefully and respectfully. Talk about the benefits of clearing out old belongings and moving to a smaller place, like saving money, feeling energized with a fresh start, and so on.
- Make sure not to move too fast. It will feel especially intimidating for a senior to make a big change if they feel rushed or pressured. Set realistic deadlines over a period of time that they are comfortable with and have agreed to, rather than pushing them to do something they’re not ready for.
- To help the process go smoother, try to make it as fun as possible. Involve family members and friends in decluttering days, donate items to favored charities, and make the days special with tasty food and upbeat music.
- Donating items is one way to frame decluttering as a positive action. By doing this, you’re not throwing belongings away. Instead, you’re sending them to a home to be used and loved by someone else. It’s also far kinder to the planet than putting a lot of items in the trash!
- On that note, ensure you are doing everything you can to be sustainable by disposing of junk responsibly. Electrical items, recyclable materials, and clothes will often have designed places, where you can dispose of them (or where you can’t donate them). Therefore, check with local guidance in your area before doing so.
- Above all, it’s a good idea to include your loved ones in every decision. Be respectful of the difficult choices being made and let them take their time; otherwise, they may reject the entire process.