We’ve all been there. We just can’t let go of that suit that is two sizes too small or those pants that looked good on us in college or those magazines that have the great recipes or the pictures of our favorite Hollywood celebrities or sports heroes. Imagine a lifetime of memories in a home that has been occupied for 30, 40, or maybe even 50 years. The wedding, the kids, the grand kids and all of their stuff.
That’s a lot of stuff. Now you’ve noticed, mom and dad can’t manage all that stuff anymore. The house is too much, the yard is too much, cooking and cleaning are overwhelming tasks. It’s time to consider moving Mom and Dad.
There are many factors that can help alleviate some of the stress of downsizing and moving. Here are some tips & suggestions that will assist in providing a seamless transition to a new community.
Break it Down & Pace Yourself:
The saying, Rome wasn’t built in a night is also true of the lifetime that has been built in your parent’s home. With so many memories in one place, tearing through everything too quickly can cause avoidable emotional friction between you and your parent. It’s OK to take things at a slower pace. Break things down into smaller, more manageable portions. Consider only focusing on one room at a time, and use another space as a staging area for sorting. You can do this.
Prioritize Your Belongings:
Most communities encourage residents to bring their own furniture so that their new home is comfortable and familiar. That means you’ll need to put priority on some of the necessities like your bed, dresser, and favorite chair. You can ask your community representative for room measurements to better anticipate what will fit comfortably. Don’t forget to account for extra space if your parent needs mobility devices like a walker of wheel chair.
Remember, less is more!
Part of the reason for this move is that the house and all of the things in it have become overwhelming. The goal here is to keep the best of the best, and leave the rest. Fewer things can be a very freeing feeling once the sorting process is complete.
Consider Hiring a Professional:
Hiring professionals to help with the move from the family house to the new space can be extremely beneficial. Regardless of how grand your new senior living community may be, you can’t take 30 years of belongings with you. A professional organizer can be impartial and help the family decide what to keep, leave behind, give away or sell. They can also be extremely helpful in determining the value of items should you chose to do an estate sale. There are many companies that specialize in helping seniors and their families make those transitions.
Create a New Space:
As you settle into your new space at the community, it may help to arrange furniture and decorations in a manner that is similar to how things were set up at home. This will help remove some of the discomfort that comes with being in a new place.
By taking your time, giving respect to the memories and lifetime spent in your parent’s home, while also creating excitement for their new home, you and your family should have no trouble at all transitioning to a senior living community.
Author, Pamela Porter, is the Director of Sales & Marketing at Newhaven Court at Lindwood in beautiful Greensburg, PA, where she assists families and social workers find the best senior living options. She also connects families with coordinating services like movers and estate planners to ease the transition.