6 Ways to Help Your Aging Parent Downsize

senior mother and daughter embracing each other

The process of downsizing can be difficult for both the elderly parent and their children. When a parent begins to age, one of the biggest challenges they face is downsizing their belongings. Here are six ways to help your aging parent downsize their home and possessions.

1. Downsizing Their Home

One of the first steps to downsizing is to move your aging parent into a smaller house or apartment if they are still living on their own. Living in too big of a house can cause them to become easily overwhelmed, which can lead to feelings of isolation and depression.

You can also contact senior living advisors about the downsizing process. They can help you figure out your different options if your parent is not living on their own or does not want to downsize into an apartment, but they still need assistance with daily activities.

2. Downsizing Their Possessions

One of the biggest complaints older people have when they begin to age is that they become bored and lonely. The best way to help alleviate these feelings and keep your parent active and engaged is to get rid of their possessions.

Another benefit of downsizing belongings is that moving smaller items can be less strenuous, which can increase your parent’s safety while lifting and carrying items.

3. Getting Rid of Unused Belongings
garage full of unused items

Before you get started on downsizing your parents’ belongings, look through the house and find all of their unused items and pack them up in one central location. You can store these boxes in a spare room or garage until they are ready to go through the next steps of the downsizing process.

When you do this, make sure your parent is aware that any items left out will be thrown away after about six months. If they start to miss something while it’s gone, encourage them to contact family members for donations or use some of their stored boxes to save an item that would mean a lot to them if they discovered it was missing.

4. Ask Them for a Packing Party

Once you’ve gotten rid of their unused things and cleared out extra rooms, your job is going to be much easier. Ask your parent if they want to have a packing party where everyone comes together and packs up items that still need to go.

This will help take the burden off your shoulders, especially if you were the one who began this process in the first place. You can also encourage donations during this step, so things don’t get left behind after everything has been packed away. This will allow you to ease yourself out of helping with these steps as well as giving back to other people in need.

5. Asking Family Members for Donations

When it comes time to pack up their belongings, your parent may find that certain items still have a lot of sentimental value to them but also take up too much space. This is where asking family members for donations comes into play.

While they are packing things up, ask them which items they would prefer to donate to other people in need and pass along the remaining items to family members or friends who might be able to use them. If you’ve already discussed this with your parents before beginning the process of downsizing belongings, they may even give some items away while they are packing up their house, so there isn’t any further work on your part at the end of the process.

6. Auctions and Estate Sales

If your parent has a lot of expensive antique furniture or other valuable things they don’t want to give away in the donation process, you could consider having an auction or estate sale. This can be overwhelming and stressful for your parents, however, so make sure you’re taking up the bulk of this responsibility when organizing one of these events.

Otherwise, you may find that your parents suddenly become upset when they see their items selling for lower prices than they had anticipated. Keep in mind that holding auctions and estate sales can also take a lot of time and energy on your end. While it’s definitely not impossible to hold one on your own, if possible, try to encourage donations so you won’t have to deal with the aftermath of a sale.

Downsizing a parent’s home can be difficult and time-consuming, but the process is made easier with these six tips. If your aging parents are looking to downsize their belongings, you should encourage them to start by decluttering unused items from every room in the house. Once they’ve completed this step, pack up boxes of unwanted items that will eventually go into storage or be given away as donations.

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