Downsizing Checklist for Seniors: A Guide to Help Your Loved One Downsize

The move to assisted living can be a big adjustment for seniors, though often necessary for their health and well-being. Once your loved one has made the decision to move to assisted living, they will most likely need to downsize for their move. Helping them sort through their furniture and belongings will make the transition to assisted living that much easier. Bringing personal items that they love can help make their new space feel like home. Making a move to assisted living can include some challenging tasks, such as sorting through sentimental belongings and getting rid of furniture. But with your help, your loved one can feel good about their move and make their new space feel like home right away. This article will explore several tips for helping your loved one downsize for the transition to assisted living, including:

  • Make a plan.
  • Make a list of important possessions.
  • Visit the new home often.
  • Consider the essentials they should keep.
  • Be open with the dialogue.
  • Start with the easy, unsentimental items. 
  • Make an “undecided” pile, so they don’t have to make hard choices right away.
  • Emphasize the positive changes.
  • Keep memorabilia and family keepsakes stored safely.

Helping Your Loved One Downsize

Once you have determined that assisted living is a good choice for your loved one, the next step is to find a community they will enjoy and help them downsize for their move. New Perspective’s assisted living communities offer your loved ones the freedom they deserve and services tailored to their personal needs. We offer daily organized activities, community-focused facilities, and amenities with 24/7 access. Assisted living gives residents their own living space, with the option to socialize with their neighbors and dine together whenever they want. They will also be able to cook for themselves and live independently like they would at home. Chances are, their apartment will be smaller than their current living quarters, which makes downsizing such a crucial step in the transition to assisted living. With these tips, you will be able to help your loved one downsize in a way that’s empathetic and helpful while encouraging them about the positive changes they are about to make. Listed below are some great tips on helping your loved one downsize for the move to assisted living.

Make a Plan

It’s always helpful to have a plan when moving. Downsizing can be a lengthy process depending on your loved one’s current living situation, so it’s crucial to set aside at a least a few days on your calendars to focus on packing. Start by defining your goals together so that you’re on the same page about what downsizing entails, and enlist help from other loved ones on days that you might need their involvement. Having everyone looped in on a plan will make the process of downsizing for assisted living that much easier for your loved one, and they’ll know they are supported during this big life change. 

Make a List 

Besides having a plan, making a list of possessions that will need to be packed or moved can be very helpful. You might even consider making a list of essential possessions or family heirlooms so that they don’t get lost in the shuffle. Having a “moving checklist” will make the whole process easier and ensure you don’t forget any crucial steps or items. It might even be helpful to walk through your loved one’s home together and list the items they want to bring with them. Having someone to help make these decisions will make the process a lot easier and less stressful. 

Visit the New Home 

Transitioning a senior parent to assisted living can come with some uncertainty. One thing that will help your loved one is to visit their new community and help them visualize themselves in their new space. It will help your loved one decide what possessions they want to bring with them and what they can leave behind. Visiting their new home with you can make the process much easier, and they will feel more comfortable about the move overall. Assisting them in asking questions at the assisted living community will also put them at ease and help them feel good about the decision to move.

Consider the Essentials 

Aside from the apparent items needed to live comfortably, there are some essential things that you will want to make sure your loved one has when they move to assisted living. This includes photos and other memorabilia, as well as home furnishings they are familiar with. Having their own pillows, bedspread, and other home items will help make the transition easier because they will be surrounded by items they’re comfortable with. If your loved one wants you to store some items for them in your home, offer to do that for them so they don’t have to worry about keeping things like Christmas decorations, seasonal clothes, and other items they won’t need year-round in their apartment. Their assisted living apartment should feel homey, comfortable, and tailored to them.

Start with Less Sentimental Items

It will be easier to help your loved one start the downsizing process if you start with easy items. Being able to easily make a decision on early, less sentimental items will open the door and make it easier to process more sentimental items as you progress. 

Make an Undecided Pile

Along with starting with the easy items, it can be helpful to give your loved one the option to make an “undecided” pile. Sorting through sentimental items can be emotionally draining, so it’s a good idea to have a pile of things they can come back to later after more thought.

Store Keepsakes Safely

It might be best to take care of storing any family keepsakes or important memorabilia in your or a relative’s home so that your loved one doesn’t have to bring them with their new apartment. They may not have the space for it in assisted living or they may not want to have to store certain items. Offer to keep them safe for your loved one so that the move is a little easier on them. 

Be Open and Positive

Throughout the process of moving to assisted living, it’s crucial to keep an open dialogue and a positive mindset for your loved one. They will enjoy a social community at New Perspective and have amenities they likely don’t have access to right now. This move can be an excellent thing for many seniors, and ensuring your loved one feels supported and excited about the change is essential to their success.   

Moving to Assisted Living

While there may not be the perfect checklist for moving elderly parents into assisted living, these tips will help you get started. There are so many reasons why we should take care of our parents and elderly loved ones. Helping them downsize to make the move to assisted living is crucial to them having a positive experience moving into their new community.