Tips for helping Downsizing a Senior Loved ones home
Are you the caregiver of a senior loved one? Have you reached the point where it may no longer be possible for you to care for your senior loved one at their home? Have you reached the point where you feel that the care of your senior loved one can best be handled by professionals at a senior care community?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes…then this is only the beginning. What about helping downsizing your senior loved one and their home and their possessions? This is often a daunting process.
This is part of a continuing series of article and helpful tips and insights into senior care and senior transition services by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers (www.personalpropertymanagers.com ) Personal Property Managers specializes in senior transition services such as downsizing, content clean out and removal, estate sales, full service real estate and property sale and moving.
Downsizing is a necessary reality and part of moving to a new residence. There are a life time of memories and possessions that need to be gone through and decisions need to be made as to what to keep and what to discard or donate. Downsizing can be particularly wrenching for the elderly, or for that matter their caregivers who may find it overwhelming to think about letting go of the items they’ve gathered over a lifetime. If a senior loved one is faced with a move to assisted living, it is just not possible to move every item from ones home into a senior community.
This can lead to difficult conversations for family caregivers, who are usually the ones faced with confronting their parents about downsizing. Fortunately, there are strategies you can follow to make the process easier, even if a senior loved one has a more serious hoarding issue.
Getting rid of longtime possessions, especially for folks who have lived in their home for decades and for items that they have grown attached to isn’t easy for anyone, but for our elderly loved ones, it can feel like giving up cherished memories, especially if they are faced with leaving a long-term home on top of it all.
You can take solace in the fact that you are not alone. In fact, it’s quite common. A recent study by the Gerontology Center at the University of Kansas looked at survey data from 22,000 participants and found that about 30% of people over age 70 had done nothing to give away belongings over the past 12 months. Yet more than half of the respondents in all age categories believed they had too many belongings. The challenge is that it is extraordinary difficult to give up items that are so closely linked to peoples identities and their past and all their memories.
Hording is a real challenge for many, especially senior citizen who have lived in their home for many years. If their collection of stuff is actually impairing their everyday functioning and threatening their health or that of others, they may be suffering from an elderly hoarding disorder. This may be happening right under your nose, and you may not realize this or may not want to admit it. If you know someone who is having trouble letting go of personal possessions and is distressed at the thought of discarding them, that alone may not constitute elderly hoarding behavior.
However, if a person’s clutter is so extreme that their living space is unusable, unsanitary, or hazardous, or if they are exhibiting symptoms like self-neglect and social withdrawal, it may be time to consider whether they have elderly hoarding disorder and whether they should move into assisted living.
Downsizing Discussion Tips:
Whether you suspect your loved one has senior hoarding issues, or they simply have too much stuff for a small assisted living apartment, broaching the topic of downsizing can be a scary thought. You might be wondering, how can I ask Mom and Dad to give up so many mementoes they obviously cherish, and risk upsetting them? Indeed, the conversation – and the culling process itself – can be quite distressing.
One way to address the issue of clutter or just too much stuff is to approach it from a different direction. You may want to consider working with your senior loved one to give away unneeded belongings to the needy. So now instead of feeling ashamed that you have too much stuff, you can feel better knowing that you are helping others.
Seeking the assistance of trusted friends and family to help your loved one clear their clutter can be an enormous help. Having others around to share memories with can make the process less painful, for one thing. It can also make it less overwhelming and time-consuming. Often seniors or for that matter their caregivers are overwhelmed by the size of the task, or feel physically incapable. Sometimes, though, the situation may require the assistance of a professional. That’s where Personal Property Managers can help. We are senior transition specialist and can help with all your downsizing needs…be it clean out, donations, estate sales or disposal.
For more information on home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at www.personalpropertymanagers.com or simply give us a call at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping to transition elderly ones from their home of many years into senior care communities. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, full service real estate services via its association with Every Home Realty to help sell homes with proceeds going towards paying for the long term care of elderly loved ones and moving services