Downsizing for Seniors by Marilyn Bohn
Downsizing can be a tough process for anyone, but especially for seniors who find themselves with large homes and no longer have children at home to fill up the rooms. More and more are tackling the huge job of downsizing their living spaces. In fact, about six percent of Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 move each year, according to the Over-50 Council of the National Association of Home Builders.
There are several reasons seniors want or need to downsize. They could be planning a move to assisted living, moving into a smaller, more manageable home or living out of a motor home so they can travel more.
I offer the following tips for seniors taking the plunge into a more simplified lifestyle.
o Get Rid of the guilt factor---Many feel they are the "keepers" of their family heirlooms and have a hard time getting rid of items which they no longer have room. This is the number one reason seniors have a hard time downsizing. Look for other family members who would like to have some of these items now. Especially if they are just being stored and not used. This way the person they really want to have them will for sure be the one to inherit the item. And the joy that brings to the recipient can be enjoyed by the giver.
o If family members do not want the items because of their own space limitations or for other reasons consider donating the items to a charity. Or there are consignment shops in most large cities where items can be sold with a percentage of the cost going to the shop. Or items can be sold through eBay, Craig's list and other places on the internet.
o Paring down items before the move makes the process easier at moving time. It not only saves space but it saves time and money.
o Find movers specializing in senior needs---Moving is stressful for everyone, but some moving companies specialize in making the transition easier for seniors so it is worth the time to fine a 'mover match'. There are moving companies with senior-friendly services, such as hanging items on the walls for clients unable to do so themselves, handling the change of address and utilities, setting up electronics at a new home, and much more.
o Reassess every five to ten years---As seniors get older, modern appliances or high shelving can become more difficult to use or simply unnecessary considering their lifestyle. By evaluating and reassessing needs every five to ten years helps in two ways. It helps to avoid collecting clutter and keeping things no longer needed. It also assures that the home or space is still working for their lifestyle.
o Everyday activities and household chores can be made easier---This can be a simple process by adjusting the setup in their homes. Keep two to three sets of dinnerware where it is easy to reach instead of keeping everything in out-of-reach cabinetry. Everyday activities and household chores can be made easier just by adjusting the setup in their homes.