Downsizing to Retirement Living

Moving Mom and Dad into a retirement home after living the past 40 year in a four-bedroom home may seem an overwhelming task both physically and emotionally.  But it doesn’t have to be insurmountable. 

There are a few approaches that will help make the process move smoothly and without too much turmoil.  Moving and packing experts recommend starting in the far reaches of the home,  such as the basement or attic where long forgotten, even broken things may be hiding.  Keep in mind that many seniors grew up during the Depression and they may have saved things you might consider junk.  Now is not the time to question why the cracked vase was saved for 20 years, but rather the moment to facilitate a decision whether it goes into the donate, sell, keep or discard box.

Some pieces will be taken by family members and parents are often happy to see a beloved desk or chair find a home with a loved one.  Sometimes donation makes sense if the items are not likely to fetch a good price in a sale or on consignment.  Consider how much time and effort is involved when planning a sale or moving items into storage.

A good criteria for what to keep is to ask the owner,  “Would you still purchase this item today?”  Only keep what is loved and what has been used in the past two years.  

Family photos can be scanned and made into a photo-book that will be a treasured keepsake in the new home.  Favourite art work or even a beloved view into the back yard can be photographed and kept in the album as well.  

Another helpful idea to keep decision-making on track is to measure and even sketch out the new living space.  Once you can visually see what will fit into the space and what is necessary, the decisions will start making themselves.  Often too-large piece such as dining room suites can be sold and replaced with something more suitable for the new home.

Try to keep the attitude positive and while it is important to hear about the past, the focus should be kept on a fresh start in a new, more manageable surrounding.