Downsizing Tips for Independent Seniors
Moving from a traditional home to a senior living community is an exciting transition in your life. You’ll be entering a new phase of fun, comfort, and freedom from the never-ending list of household chores. But transitioning out of the place you’ve called home for many years can also be a very emotional experience.
So many memories in every room and every possession can make the thought of a move overwhelming to consider. But once you realize you’re ready, and you see your upcoming transition as the positive step it really is, it can become a step you’ll look forward to.
Here’s a list of tips for downsizing for seniors:
Make Sure You’re Ready
As long as you’re unsure if your life will be improved by moving into a senior living community, you won’t be fully ready to move. Make a list of all the ways you’ll benefit from moving to a senior apartment, and refer to it often, so these benefits easily come to mind.
First, you’ll benefit from having more predictable monthly expenses. You may be living on a fixed income, and life in a traditional home leaves you with unpredictable costs. Home maintenance and unforeseen repair needs happen all the time and can pop up out of nowhere. Moving to a senior apartment relieves you of the stress of all that uncertainty, not to mention freeing you from your utility bills, home insurance and property taxes.
Next, you’ll be able to greatly simplify your life. You’ll have less space to have to clean, no more yardwork to do or pay for, and arranging for travel for everyday errands, like trips to the grocery, pharmacy and medical care appointments, could be much easier. Another great simplification to consider is that you won’t have to deal with stairs if you don’t want to. No more trips up to the bedroom, or down to the basement. This also gives peace of mind to your loved ones.
Most importantly, you’ll have a lot of fun to look forward to, especially with all your free time in a new, smaller space. You won’t be isolated from friends and activities you enjoy, and you’ll be able to spend your days however you want.
Set Goals That Are Manageable
The best way to keep from becoming overwhelmed with moving is to give yourself plenty of time to do it. Start by making a plan and setting a manageable timeline. Keep in mind that many to-do’s on your list could take a lot longer than you realize, so by giving yourself plenty of extra time at the start, you’ll have the cushion in your calendar you might need to keep from feeling rushed or behind schedule later on.
As you map out your downsizing plan, make sure each of your individual goals is small enough that you’ll be able to handle them. Scheduling friends or family members ahead of time to help with heavy items and large stacks to sort through will keep you on schedule, safe, and able to share memories and emotions.
Declutter and Organize
Once you have your list of to-do’s that gives you an overall plan, tackle your process one step at a time. It’s a good idea to ease yourself into the process with activities that are easiest. Lightweight, easily accessible and not particularly sentimentally valuable items are a good place to start. Piles of mail and files of paperwork can be physically and emotionally manageable in the earlier stages of decluttering. Also keep in mind you’ll need access to items such as kitchenware and some furniture until you move.
Stay in close communication with loved ones throughout the entire process of decluttering and downsizing. You don’t have to go through it alone. Invite friends and family members over to help you go through your possessions, especially as you get into items that will stir emotions, such as photos and mementos. Having loved ones with you to share memories and give support will keep you positive and productive.
As you choose which items to keep and which to move away from, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I need this item, or do I want it?
- Do I use it often?
- Do I have another item like this that performs the same function?
And two rules you can give yourself will greatly help you make decisions with each item:
The “One Year” Rule – If you’re having trouble deciding to keep or part with a particular item, ask yourself if you’ve used it within the last year. If you haven’t, it might be a sign that you don’t really need it.
Have a “Yes” pile and a “No” pile for what you’ll keep and discard – no “Maybe” pile. All you’re doing is putting off a decision you need to be making to stay on schedule, and prolonging your process unnecessarily.
Acknowledge Your Emotions
There’s no doubt that downsizing for seniors is a deeply emotional process. Surround yourself with loved ones who will remind you that even though your address will be changing, the people who love you aren’t going anywhere. Take time with your possessions and allow yourself to enjoy memories, share feelings and tell stories. Everyone who is with you will consider your reminiscing a gift, and the process can bring you closer. Take breaks to rest both physically and emotionally to keep from feeling overwhelmed. Pay attention to how you’re feeling, talk, and take your time.
One of the most important steps you can take to stay positive throughout the process is to make plans for the future. Remind yourself of all the great times you have to look forward to by making concrete plans to keep doing what you like and seeing those you love after your move. This helps you focus on what you’ll be gaining, rather than losing.
Plan to take full advantage of all the services, amenities and activities that your new senior living community provides. Think of the easier days that lie ahead of you, free from chores, errands and unforeseen costs, and full of fun activities, free time and relaxation.
Find the Right Fit
Before you can begin to move out of a home, you need to decide where you’re moving to. First of all, this will make your logistics manageable. Knowing which items you’ll need in your new, smaller space and mapping out where furniture will go will make packing and moving easier.
The apartments at Laurel Circle offer floor plans to fit any senior lifestyle. With seven layouts and sizes to choose from, you’ll find a home that’s perfect for you. From studios to two-bedroom apartments, we have the variety to fit your needs and personality. You’ll be enjoying all the services and amenities with your new neighbors and friends from day one and, in no time, Laurel Circle will feel like home.
To learn more about our independent living floor plans, contact us today. We can’t wait to meet you.