For senior parents, downsizing can be a painful task; for their adult children, it can be an arduous one. Either way, downsizing is a process that requires time, patience, compassion, and extra help. But, downsizing is manageable if you do a little research and pre-planning. Plan on how much you’ll be able to take to the new home, stay patient, read reviews of moving companies, and compare prices while you’re at it.
Keep the Size of the New Home in Mind
Downsizing is just that: moving to a smaller place. This means that your parents, who more than likely have accumulated a great deal of stuff over the years, will have to make decisions about what to keep and what to leave behind when they move. While you may have noticed their home is a little cluttered, you may not realize just how many items you will need to sort through with them to fit what they want to keep into their new place.
That’s why the first thing you should do is become familiar with the layout and size of your parents’ new home. Knowing how much space your parents will have makes it easier to plan where to place essential furniture and appliances and how much remaining space they will have for other items they want to keep. It also helps to know how much closet and storage space they will have when assisting them in sorting items before moving day.
Giving your parents time to plan and decide what items to keep is more manageable when you help them determine a purpose for each space in the new home and the items they are keeping. Making careful decisions about what to keep will help them make the transition to the new home because they will know what they are keeping and why, and they’ll know that they’ve kept the most important and meaningful items that will help their new house feel like home.
Be Patient with Your Parents
Downsizing can be very stressful for your parents, especially if they are not enthusiastic about moving but have to do it out of necessity. Tensions will be running high, and you will be stressed about timelines and logistics in addition to being concerned about how your parents are handling the downsizing process. It’s easy to become frustrated and impatient with your parents when you feel as though they are taking too much time sorting their belongings or insisting on keeping the clutter you know will not fit into their new home.
But, it is important that you remain patient with them and try to be as compassionate as possible. Your parents are facing an uncertain time and letting go of a home full of memories, not to mention several of their belongings, is not easy for them. They will feel sad, overwhelmed, and scared during the downsizing process, and you need to be patient and compassionate at every step of the way.
Hire Professional Movers
While family members are the best choice for helping parents make decisions about downsizing and which items to keep, they are not the best choice for doing the physical labor involved in moving your parents to a smaller home. You and your family members risk personal injury when you move heavy furniture and load trucks for a move. If you get hurt, your parents will blame themselves and feel even more negative emotions about downsizing. And, you will be unable to reassure them on moving day if you injure yourself moving heavy items.
For these reasons, hiring professional movers is the best thing to do when helping your parents downsize. Packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking becomes much more manageable when you leave it to the professionals who have the experience, equipment, and materials to make moving a seamless process. You also will have more time to think about what needs to be packed separately for your parents including their medication, medical equipment, and favorite items that should be accessible at the new house to start making it feel like home immediately for your parents.
While downsizing is quite an undertaking, it becomes a much more manageable process if you keep the size of your parents’ new home in mind, remain patient with your parents, and hire professional movers.
Michael Longsdon is the creator of ElderFreedom.net, which advocates for the rights and support of seniors.