How to Downsize For Independent Living or Assisted Living

Moving to an independent living or assisted living community can be an exciting process. A senior’s independence is essential to maintain, and you must find a new home that suits your needs or your loved one’s needs. However, moving can also be emotionally and physically exhausting if you or your loved one are not prepared before the transition.

If you or your loved one have always lived in a family home, there are probably many great memories attached to it, such as family and friends coming over for the holidays, or grandchildren visiting during summer.

There are also probably many items that have accumulated over the years or during retirement. This includes household items, paperwork, and more. With that being said, downsizing your or your loved one’s belongings is a key part of moving to independent living or assisted living.

Although this can be a daunting task, there are many strategies you or your loved one can take when it comes to putting together essential belongings. For those seniors that need daily assistance, asking family members or friends for help to downsize and organize is beneficial and will help with the transition.

In this blog, we will discuss five ways you can scale down on items and pack up what is necessary in anticipation of moving. Keep reading to learn about a few tips on how seniors can downsize for independent living and how they can downsize for assisted living.

1. Start planning now.

Transitioning to a new home can take a lot of time and effort. You must know everything about the new home you or your loved one will be moving into; this will help determine what items to consider when packing.

Begin by visiting your soon-to-be independent living community or assisted living community and making a note of the floor plan in your or your loved one’s room. The visit will give a better idea of everything that can be moved into the apartment. Remember that you or your loved one may not be able to fit everything into a smaller space, so knowing your limits can prevent you from bringing an excess of items.

2. Create a list.

When downsizing, it is essential that a list is compiled of the things you or your loved one need in an independent living or assisted living apartment. Go through each room in your house and make a note of what you have; this will make it easier for you to see what you want to donate, and what you want to keep.

As an older adult, you or your loved one may have found yourselves accumulating various items over the years that are no longer needed. Do you have old furniture that is wearing out? What about clothing that you no longer wear?

Put items like these in a donation pile, or recycle them. Also, see if family members or friends would like to take any items. This will minimize your or your loved one’s need for a storage unit later on.

Remember that your or your loved one’s new living space will most likely be smaller, so start by bringing what is necessary. This includes furniture in good condition (and that will be regularly used), kitchen appliances, medications, as well as family heirlooms or items that have a sentimental attachment. Everyone has a different decluttering method , so stick to what works best for you or your loved one.

3. Organize paperwork.

While it is important to make note of large items you or your loved one are willing to donate, recycle, or take to a senior community, it is imperative to do the same thing when it comes to paperwork. Begin by looking on tables, nightstands, and inside of drawers. Is there an excess of paper lying around?

If these happen to be old receipts, bills, magazines, newspapers, etc. place these in the recycling bin or shred them. Getting unnecessary paperwork out of the way makes a significant difference. Remember that certain documents expire with time, so be sure to keep that in mind. Also, make sure to organize documents that are absolutely necessary.

This includes your or your loved one’s birth certificate, driver’s license, military records, social security card, passport, wills, medical records, etc. Important personal documents like these should be kept in a safe. Make sure to bring these when you or your loved one move.

4. Make arrangements for move-in day.

As soon as you know when you or your loved one will be transitioning to independent living or assisted living, start planning for move-in day. Subsequently, if you or your loved one need help packing items, ask friends and family if they will be free to lend a hand. While you or your loved one might not be taking a substantial amount of items, moving can still be overwhelming.

Moreover, make sure to receive help when it is time for you or your loved one to move items from the old home to the new home. If friends and family are able to help with the move, that is wonderful. If you or your loved one happen to live far away from friends and family, consider hiring a Senior Move Manager.

5. Do not rush the downsizing process.

Moving to independent living or assisted living is a great option. However, you or your loved one want to make sure not to get stressed during the process. When downsizing, take everything one day at a time, especially if you are helping an older adult move to residential care.

Get out a digital or physical planner and write down what needs to be done each week leading up to your or your loved one’s move. This includes decluttering the home and managing tasks that come with hiring a real estate agent and selling the current home (if you or your loved one are doing so).

There is a lot to consider when making the transition for you or your loved one. However, when you take a one-day-at-a-time approach, it can make the process much easier and stress-free.

So, how do you or your loved one plan on downsizing for independent living or assisted living? What downsizing tips would you add to this? Share with us in the comments.

Our community, Royal Estates of El Paso, offers independent living or assisted living for our residents. If you have yet to decide which independent living or assisted living community is right for you, take a look at our website to learn about our thoughtfully-designed apartment homes, as well as our other amenities.

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