How to Downsize Your Home
Over the last year, Kimberly Frankel has worked with families to transition seniors from their homes and condos into retirement communities in Los Angeles, CA. Specializing in “making the new place feel just like home,” Frankel offered SeniorAdvisor.com her six top tips for moving a loved one into a senior care community:
1. Downsize furniture to fit
“Be aware that their current furniture may be in a grand scale and may not fit in the smaller, downsized rooms of retirement facilities,” says Frankel. She suggests drawing up a floor plan to scale to ensure that the new furniture will actually fit into the new space. Think ahead, Frankel advises: “Leave ample space for seniors to maneuver their current or potential walkers or chairs, in order to make the physical transition easier.”
2. Consider wiring and remote-controlled devices
“Creating ease of living is key when it comes to moving seniors,” Frankel notes. “Rooms may not be electrically wired for your senior’s needs.” Frankel’s service sets up custom electrical wiring and remote-controlled items such as windows, televisions, and lights. Making these items easier to use, Frankel says, makes the transitions easier, and also helps it feel just like home.
3. Shelving and storage space
“Additional shelving may be needed to store seniors’ belongings and personal mementos that may be used at a later time,” says Frankel, who meets with her clients to specifically analyze how much shelving will be needed to store their belongings, and then installs the additional shelving if necessary. If working with an agency, she suggests you make sure to ask whether they will do more than simply unpack.
4. Ask your loved one’s opinion
During the stress that accompanies a move, seniors’ opinions often end up being overlooked, Frankel says. “They too have specific ideas of what they would like and it is very important to empower them and let them make decisions for their new abode. They usually have an emotional attachment to their current belongings and feelings about what they would like in their new home. Additional downsized furniture may need to be purchased in order to accommodate the smaller spaces or the lack of storage space.” Consult your loved one and involve them in the purchase-making decision.
5. Say goodbye to dishes
Unless your senior is moving into independent living or senior apartments, Frankel says you can forget about dishes: “Even though they may think they are going to need lots of dishes, the fact of the matter, is that they really don’t. Pack very little in kitchen paraphernalia, as they won’t be using it.” Confirm with the community whether meals are provided.
6. Finally… pack a few of your favorite things
As for finishing touches, Frankel says it’s all about familiarity. “Recognition is a key factor when you are dealing with seniors. I believe that the more familiar pieces are in their view, the happier and more focused they become…[I] take the time to pull out the senior’s favorite things so that when they arrive, each room reminds them of their home. When I handle a move, I make sure that there are ample memory sparks in view, as these are extremely important in order to ease the transition to the new space. The more it looks like home, the easier the emotional transition will be, and the less traumatic the adjustment.”
Hopefully these tips will help you get started in organizing a move to a senior care facility. Understand in advance that it can take more time and effort than expected, and working with a consultant like Frankel can help take the stress out of the move and ease the emotional aspects of these transitions. Frankel promises you’ll be happy you took the time to organize everything when you see how happy your loved one is when they realize that their new environment feels just like home.
Kimberly Frankel offers a Senior Downsizing service to Los Angeles area families. Learn more about her business at http://www.kimberlyfrankel.com.