Your loved ones accumulate a lot in the course of a long, fruitful life. Clothing, mementos, photographs, trinkets, and many more items that are more than just stuff tend to accumulate over time. Many of these items have stories connected with them with a lot of memories to share. Here’s how to navigate the challenge of downsizing when the time comes to move to an assisted living facility like NewAldaya Lifescapes.
We can understand the impulse to put off the hard decisions, but we suggest starting sooner rather than later. Downsizing can be stressful, and for those needing memory care, it can also be disorienting. Taking your time keeps the process from feeling rushed, and takes some of the pressure off of everyone involved.
Some items, like clothing, medications, and toiletries, are absolute necessities. Other items may not be strictly necessary, but if you know which are favorites (a wedding photo, a box of old love letters, a family Bible), don’t neglect these items. They have an important part to play, since they’ll give the new living arrangements a touch of home.
Everyone’s home — even yours — has a closet or a room that’s a catch-all for the things we haven’t used in many years but haven’t thrown out “just in case.” And if someone asked you to list what was in that area without opening the door and having a peek, odds are that you’d leave just as much off the list as on it. Start there, since the items that are used the least and have often been forgotten will be the easiest to sort through.
Don’t Insist, Ask
For some individuals, moving to an assisted living facility and the downsizing that comes with it is easy. For many others, however, it feels more like surrender. Put yourself in your loved one’s shoes; they’re used to their independence and having a place that’s all their own, and now they’re faced with the prospect of uprooting their life, sharing their space, and giving up some measure of their independence. Insisting that they get rid of a significant chunk of their possessions can compound the frustration they’re already feeling. Giving them a sense of ownership in this process is vital.
Don’t Dispose, Donate
When we have an attachment to something, we often want to see it used, appreciated, and even loved the same as we’ve done for years. If items can be gifted to family, passed on to a family in need, or donated to a worthy cause, downsizing can be turned into a positive situation that brings feelings of warmth.
Learn to Condense
We’ve come to love technology because it allows big collections of certain items to be squeezed into smaller spaces. Framed photos can be put into an album, or scanned and put into a digital photo frame (be sure to make backups). Music and film collections can be digitized. Bookworms may enjoy having their collections on an e-reader (especially once they realize the type size is adjustable). With a bit of creativity, you can take it with you — without taking up too much space.
The biggest challenge of adjusting to assisted living — for you, and your loved ones — isn’t the logistics. It’s handling the move with sensitivity, and finding ways to approach it that make it a positive transition that preserves the peace while also maintaining your loved one’s dignity. If you’re finding the process challenging, please reach out to the NewAldaya Lifescapes staff. We’ll give advice drawn from decades of understanding, experience, and compassion.