Your parents are moving from their home of 43 years to a two-bedroom condominium in a retirement community. The prospect of downsizing seems overwhelming! How can you help them move forward during this emotional time?
- Involve your parents in the move decisions as much as possible. Their participation will make adjustment to the move much easier.
- Break the tasks of downsizing into small segments. Taking small steps will help them digest the idea of clearing out the entire home.
- Begin with rooms that have fewer emotional attachments such as an attic or basement.
- Get a floor plan from the new home and determine which furnishings, accessories and artwork will best fit into the new space. Try to select items that hold the most memories.
- Share and reminisce the memories with your parents during the process and encourage them to take time to say goodbye to possessions they won’t be moving. They may only need to read their old letters one more time before discarding them.
- Encourage them to give cherished items and heirlooms to family and friends. Your parents will be comforted in knowing their possessions will be appreciated in familiar hands.
- Have their favourite LP’s and audio tapes recorded to updated CD format. Hire a specialist to compile those hundreds of family photographs to DVD format or create memory books for the family.
- Remind your parents that less is more and if they haven’t worn that jacket or dress in a number of years, it’s a good time to pass it on.
- Donate useful items to charities or their place of worship. Valuable items can often be sold through a content sale, auction or consignment store that sells used goods.
These suggestions can help reduce your parent’s anxiety levels and make the transition to their new home much easier. You can turn what appeared to be an insurmountable challenge into a manageable process and reduce the stress of beginning a new and exciting phase of their lives. They will be most grateful for your understanding and loving support.