Many older individuals choose to remain in their home as they age. Though this is a viable and healthy option, caregivers may find themselves wondering if their loved ones should downsize in the near future.
Older family members can still live on their own, and doing so in a smaller home may be more beneficial to their overall well-being. Not only will they have less distance to travel from one end of the house to the other, but there will also be less clutter. The new home can be further optimized for independence and safety with home care accessories such as bathroom safety aids and fall management products.
Assess the situation
One reason that may lead caregivers to move their family members into a smaller home is the occurrence of a fall or other accident. Such incidents may be avoided if caregivers can discuss the possibility of downsizing with their loved ones early on. Caregivers should look out for indicators that may prompt this move, such as clutter or overall uncleanliness due to the scope of the home.
Proposing such a life-changing event might require delicacy. Chances are, family members have lived in the home for many years. Speak with other caregivers to determine how and when to approach the subject. Bringing in family friends and other relatives who are around the same age as those who are being asked to downsize can help, especially if your supporters are older and have already downsized. They can give loved ones a first-person account of how helpful it was to move into a smaller home.
Once older family members agree to downsize, it's time to prepare for the move. There are many steps to moving, especially if it's for someone else, the Family Caregiver Alliance pointed out. If you're unsure of where to start, here are some pointers.
- De-clutter: Everybody collects items over time. Some may have value, whereas others don't. It's a good opportunity for loved ones to revisit memories, and therefore provides caretakers with a chance to strengthen their relationship with their family members. This doesn't have to be bittersweet if family and friends join in. Heirlooms can be featured and possibly passed on.
- Box accordingly: Packing someone else's possessions is tricky. You can't be positive as to which items are going to be donated and which will be brought into the new home. Setting up boxes in the house and labeling them with colors (green for keep, yellow for donation and red for dispose) will help everyone quickly identify which ones will go where.
- Consider moving companies: Depending on the number of people who are helping out with the move, you may have to consider hiring professional movers. This will ensure that there's enough room for all the boxes and that they'll be brought into the residence safely and efficiently. On the other hand, if it's going to be a family and friend effort, schedules and routes will have to be set up accordingly.
- Plan out the setup: Help loved ones figure out the general layout of the new home. Determining where large pieces of furniture will go and what will be placed in the different closets can speed up the unpacking process, which should be done as soon as possible to ensure overall safety.
- Unpack quickly: If there are enough people helping out, one group can wait at the new home with those who are being moved. This group can unpack and store away items as they arrive, ensuring efficiency.
Moving out can be difficult to coordinate, but with proper planning and a willing team of family members and friends, it can be done quickly.