As adult children finally leave the nest, many older adults face the decision of what’s next. Do they stay in their large home that holds family memories, or do they downsize to accommodate their new life stage? Maintaining a large home with a larger yard can be a burden for some seniors, especially as they grow older and develop chronic health conditions. Homes with multiple levels can become a burden for older adults, especially if they need to climb stairs multiple times a day. Adult children become worried about their aging parents’ ability to age-in-place and may persuade their parents to find a smaller home.

When older adults do choose to downsize, they often recruit the help of their adult children. This can be exhausting and overwhelming. Deciding what to keep and what to toss can take weeks. Finding new homes for items no longer needed can also be time-consuming and emotionally draining. However, with a little planning and effort, downsizing your parents can be a fun adventure. If it’s time to downsize your parents, here are a few tips to help guide you through the process.

Consider Their Health Needs

Before your parents put an offer on a smaller place, it’s best to sit down with them and discuss what their future could potentially look like. Are there any underlying medical conditions in their family history, such as dementia, heart disease, or stroke? Do they wish to age-in-place and do they have a strong support network in place? Would they rather move to a senior living community that offers multiple levels of care? It would be wise to choose a home that is able to meet your parents’ current health needs, as well as accommodate any changes that occur down the road.

Eliminate Clutter

The next step to downsizing your parents is to go through their current home and eliminate clutter. Now is the time to go through closets, drawers, cabinets, and the garage and clear away clutter that has accumulated over the years. If it’s broken or worn, toss it. If it’s in good condition and not sentimental, add it to the donation or sell pile. Eliminating clutter will help your family see what’s of value to keep and make the next step of downsizing easier to manage. It will also help your parents sell their home more quickly as potential buyers won’t be distracted by all the clutter.

Label Furniture That You Plan to Move 

Next, it’s time to grab a stack of sticky notes and walk through your parents’ home with them. Place a sticky note on every piece of furniture that they want to take to their next home. Focus on the bigger items, such as bedroom sets, sofas, tables, bookcases, etc. Then, reevaluate each furniture piece through the lens of their next home. Will it fit and function properly in their new space? If not, then it’s best not to take the piece with them.

Make It a Family Affair

Don’t forget to include other siblings, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and so on as you help your parents downsize. Before you sell or donate unwanted items, let the family go through and take what they could use. Make sure childhood memorabilia your parents have been saving gets to the right person. This is also a great opportunity for your parents to ask their children what they want to have of theirs when the time comes so that they can include specifics in their will.

Sell or Donate

Finally, before your parents move, take the time to sell or donate unwanted items. It’s best to do this before the move so that you have less to pack and move to their new home. There are many ways to sell home goods online without having to come into contact with buyers. What doesn’t sell should be donated so that your parents start their new journey as organized as possible.

If you are considering downsizing your parents, but don’t know where to begin, look no further than Senior Living Solutions. We exist to help seniors and their families navigate their options when it comes to senior care. We can help you determine where your next home should be based on your unique situation and required level of care. We also provide referrals to fully endorsed companies who specialize in downsizing, packing, and preparing for your move to your new home. Our goal is to save you time and money while relieving you of the stress that comes with downsizing. Our clients never receive a bill for our service, so why not let us help you navigate the downsize? To receive your free placement assistance today, please contact us by calling 501-650-3013.