helping seniors downsize

Tips for Helping Seniors Downsize

Helping seniors downsize can be difficult, especially if they have spent most of their life in a house. It can make the senior feel as though it’s another piece of their life that is coming to an end. This is why it’s is essential you approach helping your senior loved one downsize with sensitivity. The following will help you do that, so the process isn’t so painful.

Helping Seniors Downsize – Questions to Ask

One of the questions you need to ask when helping seniors downsize is if they need to move in the first place. Downsizing often means throwing away possessions that they have become attached to over the years, and with those possessions many memories are ripped away from them.

Usually, if the senior is unable to keep up with the maintenance of the home or needs special accommodations the house cannot provide, he or she needs to downsize. If this is the case, it might be wise to ask your loved what he or she would like to do with the possessions. A storage unit might be a good idea, so that the possessions don’t have to be lost forever. It might also be possible to bring most of the possessions to the new house with some organization and good packing.

Be sure to work with your loved one as you discuss what will happen with the possessions. This is one of the most disturbing parts of moving, so it must be handled with compassion.

Another question to ask yourself is if the possessions in the home have crossed into hoarding behavior. Many seniors will start collecting items because they feel as though they have sentimental value. When the health and safety become threatened by the amount of possessions in the home, it may be time to downsize.

Again, this can be highly disturbing to a senior, especially if he or she is suffering from elderly hoarding behavior. It may be wise to speak to a professional before approaching this situation, as it can cause problems in your relationship.

What to Say When Helping Seniors Downsize

What you say and how you say it matters when helping senior downsize. Never demand your loved one must move. It’s best to mention it first to see how he or she feels, and then approach it again when your loved one has had a chance to think about it.

If he or she is open to it, consider touring some new places to live. This may help get your loved one excited about moving. Treat it as a positive step in life, rather than one based on getting older.

If your loved one is adamant about staying where he or she has been living, identify some of the reasons you have been thinking about this change. He or she may not pay attention, but what you say will seep in a little, and as you bring it up you may find your loved one will soften up to it.

Identify the benefits of downsizing. Sometimes, seniors don’t realize how much easier it is to live when there isn’t so much house to care for each day.

If you need additional information on helping seniors downsize, consider contacting me – Kendall Van Blarcom. I have been helping seniors and their caregivers for a while, and I can help you deal with this situation effectively.

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Kendall E. Van Blarcom, Psy.M. Licensed Psychotherapist (Retired)

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