Helping Aging Parents Downsize

Most people will eventually face the fact that their aging parents won’t live forever — and they’ll likely need to adjust their living situations as they age. And that typically means that they need to sort out a lifetime’s worth of stuff before moving into a smaller space.

It’s a big job — especially when the parent or parents have lived in the same home for many years. Moving is stressful under the best of circumstances, but giving up a home filled with memories can get emotional even if the kids are there to help.

To help a downsizing parent, schedule bite-sized #decluttering sessions, Houzz says — no more than four hours per day, a few times a week. Spacing the sessions out will allow all parties to have some quality time together without getting overwhelmed by the task at hand.

For proper downsizing, try to get a picture of what the parent or parents’ new lifestyle will look like: Will they be cooking, entertaining, traveling or dressing up to go out? Their goals and interests can have a big impact on what they need to have in a new place.

Start by #decluttering the least sentimental items such as linens and clothing. Chances are that they have a lot of these and can pare them down easily to only what’s needed in a given week. Then gradually move on to the more difficult decsions.

Consider digitizing photos and other memorabilia, says Highgate Senior Living. Prints and collectibles can take up a lot of physical space, but digital photos or video scrapbooks can preserve the memories without the burden of extra #stuff.

One wholesale #decluttering strategy is to label everything with Post-it notes, designating what will definitely go to the new housing environment, what gets distributed to family members and what gets sold or #donated.

You aren’t really helping a parent #downsize until that extra #stuff is removed from the home, however; they can backslide on their decisions if things are allowed to sit there in limbo. Schedule a #free #donation #pickup — or multiple #pickups — at ClothingDonations.org.

It’s difficult to watch your parents get on in years. But with a little forethought, you can help aging parents adjust to a new space and lifestyle in their golden years.

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