Helping a senior loved one with a large downsizing project can be an overwhelming job. Not only is it difficult for the person organizing the endeavor, seniors can also feel stress and sadness as they say goodbye to their cherished possessions. But in many cases, these cannot be avoided. Often a downsizing is necessary because a senior is moving into a smaller home. Other times, it’s a safety issue as clutter quickly becomes a tripping hazard. No matter the reason, these projects don’t have to be a struggle. There are a few useful tricks you can use to make them just a little bit easier.
Break it Down
Tackling a houseful of possessions is enough to deter even the most motivated downsizer. So when you’re starting your project, don’t look at the entire house. Instead take it room by room over the course of several days or even weeks, if possible. This approach also works well for the possessions themselves. When you’re looking at an item, quickly categorize it as a treasure, a necessity, a useful non-necessity, or junk. Assigning broad categories will then give these possessions a destination. Treasures and necessities will stay with your loved one and can possibly be culled even further. Useful non-necessities can be sold, distributed to friends or family members, or donated to charity. Junk just goes away. Breaking a large project down into core parts will make it seem more manageable.
Give Them a Say
The downsizing process will be easier if you – whenever possible – give your senior loved one a say in what happens to the things they’ve accumulated over a long life. This will require you to ask a few questions to determine which possessions they use most, what they cannot live without, and what they can let go. You’ll still need to be an active leader through this, though, so be ready to step in with help if your loved one loses focus. If at the end of the downsizing process, your loved one can look at each item they still own and feel like it was chosen for a reason, you’ll have given them a great gift.
Understand Why It’s Hard
You might get frustrated with your loved one as you work through a project of this size. But it’s important to remember, these possessions you’re sorting through represent the sum total of their life. Memories, self-worth, and so much more can be tied up in simple objects. And in many ways, the downsizing process is also the process of saying goodbye to a life stage. A little sensitivity and understanding will help everyone manage a difficult process.
Generations Home Care Offers Downsizing Help
Of course you don’t have to take this all on alone. If you live in the greater Phoenix area, a certified caregiver from Generations Home Care can help your loved one sort, pack, and catalogue all their most treasured possessions. In addition, your senior loved one will enjoy companionship from someone other than a family member and have an opportunity to share all their favorite stories with someone new. For more information on our home care services, call 602-595-HOME (4663) or you can fill out the contact page on our website.
Downsizing a lifetime’s worth of possessions can be a long, difficult process but by using a few simple tips, and a little outside help, it can be accomplished with success.