Visiting Angels Sheboygan, WI Blog

A Guide to Downsizing Your Parents

Leaving the family home can be one of the hardest things our parents have to do. At some point, the maintenance, the cost, and the stairs all get to be too much and downright unsafe. It's time to downsize. Not only does that mean a smaller home, but it often means that 30-50 years of accumulation needs to be decluttered too. A downsize and move can feel very overwhelming. Let's break it down step-by-step and try to manage it in bite-size pieces.

Step 1: Talk With Your Parents
Open communication with your parents is essential. Many seniors do not like change later in life. They are comfortable in their homes and communities and find change to be scary. Approach the downsize collaboratively and allow parents time to get used to the idea. Embracing the concept of a move may take some time. A trusted friend, social worker, or religious figure can help address concerns throughout the process. Listen carefully while your parents express their fears and frustrations.

Step 2: Start Early
Life can throw us curveballs, so we want to be ready. That's why getting the earliest possible start to a downsize is essential. A worst-case scenario is having to move a parent due to a sudden illness or passing of a spouse. Then they have the double "whammy" of a move and an additional traumatic life event. Also, most of us underestimate the time it takes to sort, sell, and purge decades of belongings. Thousands of items can pass through our parent's fingertips as they are deciding what to keep and what goes. The mental and emotional exhaustion of this process can be staggering. Also, seniors can get physically exhausted from the effort required to move items about the home. An early start can make the process less stressful for all.

Step 3: Sort by Category
There are four options for downsizing items from home: sell, donate, recycle, trash. When sorting, please treat your parent's belongings with respect. Allow them to have control over their possessions, just as we want control over ours. Children can derail the decluttering process by forcing parents to part with items or arguing with them. Sometimes a professional organizer can help with the declutter process. The National Association of Productivity and Professional Organizers (NAPO) are experts at decluttering just about anything and doing so with specialized skills. With a job this large, it may be helpful to call in reinforcements from a member of NAPO.

Step 4: Collaborate on the New Home
We all want a say in where we live. Therefore, the decision about the location of the new home should be collaborative. The more input your parents provide, the more invested they will be in the move. If your family decides that additional help is needed to select a place to live and coordinate the relocation, consider hiring a senior move manager.

Due to certain medical conditions, such as dementia or physical disability, our parents may require an extra helping hand during a massive undertaking such as downsizing and moving from the family home. Visiting Angels Sheboygan is the premier at-home care provider in Sheboygan and surrounding areas. Our caregivers are available to provide a wide variety of care to help during these life transitions. Call us at 920-221-1000 to learn more about how we can help or contact us online today.
Each Visiting Angels agency is a franchise that is independently owned and operated. The Franchisor, Living Assistance Services Inc., does not control or manage the day to day business operations of any Visiting Angels franchised agency.