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Marissa Salvesen

By: Marissa Salvesen on July 17th, 2023

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Downsizing for Seniors: How to Make the Move Easier

assisted living  |  Senior Living Communities CT  |  senior health  |  senior health tips  |  Independent Senior Living  |  healthy living  |  independent living in ct  |  aging well

Downsizing to a senior living community offers numerous advantages that enhance the quality of life for older adults. From reduced maintenance and enhanced social opportunities to safety and security, access to amenities, and other supports for overall well-being, these communities are designed with seniors in mind. But even though this change in lifestyle can be a highly worthwhile one, the move itself is certainly overwhelming for many older adults. Following are some helpful, practical tips on how to make this moving experience easier.


Start early and plan ahead.


When it comes to downsizing and moving to a senior living community, starting early is essential. Moving can be a complex and time-consuming process, and allowing ample time for planning and preparation will help minimize stress and ensure a smoother transition. Ideally, begin several months before the anticipated move date. 


Create a detailed timeline and checklist to help stay organized and focused throughout the process. Be realistic about the time needed for each task and build in some flexibility to accommodate unforeseen circumstances. Break down tasks into manageable steps, such as sorting through different rooms or areas of the house on separate days. This approach prevents decision fatigue and allows for more efficient progress.


It’s critical to pace this process appropriately. Downsizing can be an emotional journey as you come across cherished possessions and memories. It's important to give yourself time to reflect, reminisce and make considered decisions. Take breaks when needed to recharge both physically and emotionally. 


Rightsize the new living space.


One of the crucial steps in downsizing to a senior living community is ensuring that your new living space is well-suited to your needs and preferences. Familiarizing yourself with the floor plan and measuring the available space will provide valuable insights into what furniture and belongings can be accommodated. 


Pay attention to room dimensions and any features that may impact possession placement. By understanding the layout, you can plan how to best utilize the available space and make informed decisions about which items to bring with you. Be sure to measure the dimensions of your current furniture and possessions, and compare them to the measurements of the new space to determine what will fit comfortably and what might need to be replaced or sold. 


Try to utilize smart storage solutions, as efficient storage becomes even more crucial in a smaller living space. Explore creative storage options to maximize space utilization, like under-bed organizers, hanging shelves, and wall-mounted racks. 


Downsizing presents a valuable opportunity to declutter and let go of unnecessary items. As you evaluate your belongings, consider their practicality and sentimental value. Prioritize essentials and items that bring you joy, and be willing to part with things that no longer serve a purpose or hold sentimental significance. Remember, creating an open and clutter-free environment can contribute to a sense of calm and accessibility in your new home. While it may be challenging to part with certain belongings, focus on the benefits and freedom that come with a downsized living space.


Seek professional and personal assistance when possible.


Downsizing and moving can be a monumental task for seniors, both physically and emotionally. Involving professional services and the help of loved ones can make the experience less overwhelming and more enjoyable.


If possible, consider hiring professional downsizing and moving services experienced in working with seniors. These specialists can provide guidance, handle logistics, and offer support throughout the process. They’re equipped to assist with packing, organizing, and safely transporting belongings, and their expertise in downsizing can provide valuable insights and suggestions for making the most of the available space in the new residence.


In addition, reach out to family members and close friends to offer practical assistance and emotional support. Assign specific tasks to different individuals, such as packing specific rooms or handling paperwork. Their presence can provide a sense of comfort and familiarity during a time of change. Engaging family and friends in the downsizing decisions also allows for shared memories and helps seniors feel supported in their choices.


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Allow ample time for adjustment. 


Moving to a new environment, especially for seniors, can bring about a range of emotions and challenges, which is why allowing plenty of time for adjustment is essential. Recognize that it may take time for you to adjust to your new surroundings, establish routines, and form connections within the senior living community. It's crucial to access support and understanding during this transition period. 


It’s never easy to leave behind familiar surroundings and established routines. Show yourself patience and empathy, acknowledging the feelings and concerns that come up throughout the process. Understand that it may take time to adapt to the change and settle into your new home. Rely on family and friends to offer a listening ear, assist with your needs and help process your emotions throughout the transition.


Engaging in community activities and social events can help seniors feel a sense of belonging and familiarity in a new environment. Try your best to participate in group activities, such as exercise classes, book clubs, art workshops, or outings organized by the senior living community. Reach out and introduce yourself to neighbors and staff members. Building connections and forming friendships with fellow residents and staff can significantly enhance your sense of belonging and social support.


And remember that routines offer stability and a sense of predictability, which can be particularly comforting during a transition. Work on establishing new daily routines that align with your interests and preferences—from maintaining regular meal times and engaging in hobbies or activities you enjoy to keeping a consistent sleep schedule. By incorporating familiar elements into your new routine, you can create a sense of continuity and normalcy.


Finally, familiarize yourself with the amenities and services offered by the senior living community. Whether it’s the fitness center, common areas, transportation services, or other resources, take advantage of these amenities and explore new opportunities for hobbies, learning, and socialization. 


Above all, understand that it's natural for seniors to experience feelings of uncertainty, homesickness, or even nostalgia during a transition like this. Remind yourself that these emotions are normal and valid and that it takes time to adjust to a new environment. Your feelings will likely evolve as you become more familiar with your surroundings and form new connections. You are not alone in this experience, as so many others have gone through similar transitions successfully.


To find out how United Methodist Homes provides a wealth of offerings and opportunities to support the health and well-being of our residents, contact us today or schedule a complimentary visit now

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About Marissa Salvesen

My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.