If you are helping a loved one move from a large home into an assisted living facility, you'll no doubt have some downsizing to do. While this can be challenging, there are some things you can do to make the transition easier for everyone. Here are six tips to help you scale down the belongings from a sizable space into a smaller one.
1. Make It a Joint Project
As much as possible, try to make sorting through your loved one's belongings a joint venture, so they don't feel disempowered and left out. Even if they can't participate in every decision, make sure they have some say in sentimental items, like photos and keepsakes.
If your family member has a large collection of memorabilia that won't fit in their new space, think about photographing some of it for a paper or virtual scrapbook. If you can sell items that can't be moved, you can use the proceeds for something fun for the new space.
2. Respect Important Daily Routines
If the person who is moving has a daily routine that's important to them, try to make sure they can adhere to it in the assisted living facility. Make sure items like their computer or DVDs can be accommodated in the new space. This is especially important for activities that keep the brain and body healthy.
3. Take Advantage of Communal Facilities
If your loved one's favorite activities can't be done in their own room, try to find a way they can use communal facilities for them. Hopefully you'll have chosen a living space with features like the following if they are important to the new resident:
- a piano or other instruments for music practice
- a stereo for listening to music
- fitness equipment for exercising
- a garden for working with plants or enjoying sitting outdoors
- board games for group fun
4. Create Homeyness with Small Items
Often it's the littlest things in a house that make it feel the most homey. Use items like plants, books, snack foods, or a favorite armchair throw to make the assisted living space feel more familiar and comfortable. Be sure to ask your family member what they'd like to have present.
5. Consider Off-site Storage
While you will likely have to sell, give away, or trash some items from your loved one's home, you can also consider off-site storage for things you don't want to get rid of. This is a good alternative for
- out-of-season clothing
- dressy clothing only used on special occasions
- holiday decorations
- mementos that you don't want to eliminate but have no space in the new abode (valuable items to hand down, take to the family vacation home, or sell on a bid site, for example)
6. Use In-room Storage Wisely
Try to use the available storage in your family member's new home as judiciously as possible. Find ottomans that store linens, chests that double as coffee tables, and trunks that make ideal end tables.
Use every inch of space, just as if you were on a ship. The back of a door, for example, can hold a pocket shoe organizer that can also be used for personal care items, scarves, belts, or socks.
Moving from home to an assisted living facility can be difficult, but downsizing belongings should not be one of your worries. Follow the tips above, and you can focus on helping your loved one make the transition in other ways.