Moving from the family home is among the most stressful events an older adult ever faces. At a time when emotions are running high, the list of things-to-do seems endless...a lifetime of belongings to sort through...tough decisions to make about what to take and what to do with the things that aren't going...countless errands and phone calls.
Then there's the chaos of moving day and living out of boxes until everything is unpacked and put away. Very often, later-life moves come about as the result of illness or the death of a spouse, so both the senior and his or her family are stressed before the move even begins.
Even the healthiest and most independent seniors often find relocation very demanding--both physically and emotionally.
Although making the decision to move is usually the first step in
the moving process, it is not the hardest decision. It's what to
take and what to do with what you leave behind. Typically the new
residence will be too small to take everything, and many years worth
of treasured possessions will have to be inventoried and decided
In fact, the whole process of planning the move and the arrangement of the new space, packing up and moving –in and out, and deciding what to keep and what to dispose of can seem like such and overwhelming task to the senior that the much needed move is put off.
Paring back a lifetime’s worth of possessions can feel
overwhelming. Some alternative ways of thinking about the
problem can help. There is, after all, no one way to declutter.
Stay nimble and flexible. If one approach no longer works, move on to another. Keep experimenting, finding an arsenal of tactics that suit you. Unless there’s a deadline (you’ve sold your home, for instance), think of decluttering as a new habit rather than a mountainous job. Hiring a professional that specializes in senior moves and downsizing is something to check into.
Downsizing Tips to Help Your Parent
If you are helping a senior clear out a household follow some of the following techniques to keep emotional conflicts at bay:
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