Many family caregivers find it necessary to help their loved one consider moving from the old family home where they raised children and created so many memories to one that is smaller and easier to care for. Sometimes this decision is driven by financial factors or practical considerations like an open floor plan and one-story living. Other concerns might include moving to live closer to family members who can help with caregiving responsibilities. Declining physical ability or illness might drive this decision in quick or unexpected ways.
Whatever the reason, the decision to downsize brings a wide range of emotions and a tremendous amount of work to pack up, decide what to keep and what to discard, give away or sell. Most seniors have spent a lifetime accumulating their possessions, and they find it very difficult to part with treasured belongings. As the family caregiver, much of this responsibility could fall to you. If it does, you need to move very carefully to preserve your loved one’s dignity and sense of self-worth even as you break up their lifetime’s accumulations.
The decision to downsize, or “right-size” into the next home, can be both painful and exciting for the senior and their family. You can take several steps to ease this transition and make the best of it. Caregiverstress.com has some great suggestions like making a photo album of the old home filled with family, friends, and celebrations. The Life Storage Blog emphasizes the need to keep communication open and talk through why downsizing is the right decision. When everyone is on the same page the move will go more easily and more happily.
Be sure to involve other family members to assist with deciding what should stay or be given away and what will go to the next home. Be smart and hire a professional moving company to help with the heavy lifting of packed boxes and prepping furniture for the big day. This can save lots of heartache and backaches! A good company won’t damage the furniture that is going to the new home and moving professionals know how to lift and move the heaviest of boxes without needing to see a chiropractor the next day!
If you find yourself needing to help your loved one decide it’s time to move, reach out to your support team for prayer and encouragement. With your loved one’s input decide what the best next step will be, whether it is to move in with you or another adult child, move to a smaller house or apartment with an age-friendly design, or move to a retirement community. If possible, begin this process early enough to take your time, visit several options, and find the right one for both you and your loved one.
Betsy and I hope you’ll join us this week at Heart of the Caregiver and share your heart about deciding to downsize.