Rightsizing for Your New Chapter in Life

Dear Stefanie:

We are beginning to downsize my mother’s home for a fall move to a Columbus assisted living community. She has lived in her home for over 30 years and has accumulated a lot of “treasures” during that time.

My sister and I are a bit overwhelmed trying to figure out where to start.  My mom wants to keep everything! Even though the apartment at her new assisted living community is quite spacious, it is only a one bedroom. This means many of her belongings will need to find a new home.

Do you have any suggestions that might help make this process go a little more smoothly?



5 Tips for Downsizing a Senior Loved One’s Home

Dear Staci:

I’ve talked with many families who have experienced this struggle!

The current generation of seniors is known for staying in their homes for many decades. When it is time to move on to a new chapter in life, helping them downsize can be a real challenge for their adult children. In fact, seniors and their families often cite this as a reason for putting off a move.

Here are a few suggestions to help you get started:

  1. Create a Familiar Environment: While it might be tempting to buy new furniture and accessories for your mom’s new apartment, what might help ease the transition is to create an environment that feels like home. That likely means bringing some of her favorite items from home.
  2. Make a Plan: Ask one of the staff members at the assisted living community your mother is moving to for a copy of the floor plan for her new apartment. Be sure it lists the dimensions for each room. Knowing those sizes will allow you to measure each piece of furniture and determine if and where it will fit.
  3. Most Used Items: Since it sounds as if your mother is moving from a large home, try to determine which furniture and belongings she uses most and which items have sentimental value. This might make it easier to figure out what should make the move with her and what will need to be given to family members or donated to charity.
  4. Start the Process: Once you have a general idea on what household items will be making the move and what won’t be, start your downsizing efforts in the least frequently used rooms in the house. Label boxes so you can sort items in each room according to their final destination: Family, Charity, New Apartment, and Trash.

One final tip is, unless an emergency is the reason for her move, try to give yourselves time to work through this process. It will likely be emotional for your mom to go through all of her belongings. Give her time to talk and share memories along the way!

I hope these tips make it a little easier for you and your mother to get started.

Kind Regards,

Stefanie Hayes

Navigating a move to an assisted living community or another type of retirement living can be difficult. Contact professionals to get the best advice possible for your situation. The MacIntosh Community will be happy to speak with you and help you along the way.