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Practical Tips to Help Downsizing Seniors Make an Easier Transition

According to AARP, 71% of seniors 50 through 64 have a desire to age in place. As the name suggests, this simply refers to a person’s ability to live at home while growing older. In order to achieve this goal, gradual changes are usually needed to make the home more livable.

Some seniors decide the best way to make this happen is to downsize. By moving into a smaller home, they can cut their expenses and workload, freeing both time and money in one fell swoop. It’s a chance to do more with their retirement and stay independent throughout their golden years. Here are some practical tips to help downsizing seniors make an easier transition.

Find the Perfect Fit

When downsizing to a home for your golden years, there are a few key aspects to consider. You need to find something that is accessible, easy to manage, and affordable. One-story houses with small yards and accessible condos are fantastic options. If you don’t find something perfect, you can always settle on the best option and make necessary changes after the purchase.

Be sure to consider the potential cost of accessibility modifications when deciding on the best home. Keep in mind that bathrooms and kitchens typically require the most remodeling for seniors. Also remember to figure in time and labor. To give you more of an idea about those factors, The Spruce notes it takes roughly four weeks to finish a bathroom remodel, and HomeAdvisor tells us that in Sherman Oaks, the typical cost to remodel a bathroom is from $12,606 to $24,967.

Keep or Throw?

Decluttering is the most exhilarating and frustrating part of moving into a new home. On one hand, you have an excellent opportunity to get rid of junk that’s been accumulating over the years. However, Edgewood Healthcare points out there is a distinct downside to the decluttering phase of downsizing. Seniors can really struggle, not only with the immensity of sorting a household full of goods, but also recognizing that many items with sentimental meaning are hard to let go.

Requesting help from an unbiased third party is a great method for deciding what needs to be thrown away and what can stay. Ask a family member or a friend to help you consider each item you own and decide whether the functional use and sentimental connection add up to making it worthwhile to keep.

Don’t forget that you’ll have less space in your new home, so there’s a practical motivation to get rid of some belongings as well. For items that need to go, try to think of a method that will make you feel good. For instance, you can sell some things online or have a yard sale, giving you a bit of spending money toward the cost of your move. Another idea is to donate items to a worthwhile cause or recycle them. Pick an ending for those treasures that feels fitting so you enjoy the process of saying goodbye.

Simplifying the Move

The moving process is often considered to be the most stressful part of downsizing. The advantage of transitioning into a smaller home is that you’ll have less items to move. It’s advisable for seniors to hire a professional moving crew to move all of the heavier items such as beds, dressers, refrigerators, and bookshelves. You can also ask some family members to help you move some of the smaller odds-and-ends.

In order to move the process along as smoothly as possible, seniors should start organizing their belongings weeks or even months before the actual moving day. While all of the larger pieces of furniture will have to stay put, you can easily start putting smaller items into designated boxes (you can buy small moving boxes at Home Depot for 98 cents each). When moving day arrives, all you have to do is move these boxes into a vehicle to take to the new home.

Downsizing is a natural step for seniors whose goal is aging in place. With the right plan, you can help make this transition stress-free. Just make sure you take your time and plan sufficiently beforehand.

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