Are You Ready for the Dreaded Downsize Conversation?

By May 2, 2014Aging in Place

When senior caregivers can no longer provide safe and proper care to a loved one, assisted living often offers the best options for a family. When it’s time to make the move from home to assisted living facility, downsizing is one of the most unfortunate requirements.

Senior caregivers, along with other members of the family, should all pitch in during this time of change. Moving out of your own home is an extremely emotional experience, especially for seniors. After all, a lifetime of memories are stored neatly inside, easily accessible at any time. Now they find themselves leaving a comfortable environment decorated with cherished memories of the past, moving in to an area that’s foreign, full of strangers, and short on space.

Downsizing is difficult for everyone, but hits seniors especially hard. When it’s time to start going through your loved one’s belongings, caregivers should help seniors choose the items to be kept and the items that will be given away. It’s usually during this preparatory stage that a large number of seniors begin to resist the move altogether. This is the situation senior caregivers should prepare for ahead of time.

Starting the Downsize Dialogue
Most adult children dread the thought of discussing touchy subjects with their parents. Starting the downsize conversation can stir up some pretty powerful emotions, but, despite how uncomfortable it may seem, it’s a conversation that cannot be ignored. This is especially true for seniors who are moving into an assisted living facility that offers very little storage space.

As a caregiver, it’s your job to keep a level head and see tasks through to completion. With that in mind, it’s important to acknowledge that most seniors resist the notion of moving into an assisted living community…at least temporarily. Luckily, senior caregivers can utilize a variety of tips and strategies, making the downsize conversation easier.

Having a Calm and Rational Conversation about Downsizing
A sincere conversation must take place before any type of downsizing. Before family members go charging into a senior’s home, throwing away personal items on a whim and creating a tense atmosphere, stop and consider the following conversation tips:

  • Call on family members and friends, and ask them to help during the move. The extra sets of hands undoubtedly help clear more clutter, but, for seniors, being surrounded by loved ones can make the process much easier.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to your parent. Sharing open and honest opinions (with tact) sets the stage for meaningful conversation.
  • If your senior loved one is unwilling to get rid of personal items, consider compromising. For example, senior caregivers or family members might offer to store the items.

If your senior loved one needs to downsize, initiate a dialogue and find out how he feels about the situation.

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