How to Downsize Your Home

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.

Based in Austin, TX, Amelia is the Content Marketing Manager for SeniorAdvisor.com. When she’s not writing about online reputation management, online reviews, and social media in the senior living space, she enjoys yoga and running with her dog Rockefeller. She graduated from Wellesley College cum laude with a dual degree in English and Medieval/Renaissance Studies.

20 Comments

  1. Tracy June 6, 2013 Reply

    I really enjoyed this article. I used to do something similar in the packet I would give to touring families in the Assisted Living I worked in.
    Great Article.
    Tracy

    • Author
      Amelia Willson June 12, 2013 Reply

      Thank you, Tracy! Glad you enjoyed it. I think it’s wonderful that you included to include similar info in your packet for touring families – how helpful!

  2. Greg Gunderson July 8, 2013 Reply

    Thanks for bringing awareness to senior move managers! To find a credible senior relocation specialist, I’d recommend the National Association of Senior Move Managers, of which I’m a charter member, also in California.

    • Author
      Amelia Willson July 10, 2013 Reply

      Thank you, Greg! I’d also recommend adding yourself to the Professionals section of SeniorAdvisor.com – first, you’ll need to create an account with the site. Then, once you’re signed in, a link to Create Listing will appear at the bottom of the site.

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  7. Bobby June 16, 2015 Reply

    I am moving quite soon and I must say these advices really work. Very well written and useful article, thank you, Amelia! As to to the moving process – if you have kids give each one of them their own card box, this has done wonders for me. They played and pretended the boxes were cars and after that they started putting their stuff in them as they saw we, the adults did! The boxes kept them occupied so me and my husband could pack faster, so this trick is from me. Good luck to everyone moving!

  8. carolyn February 18, 2016 Reply

    I am considering downsizing soon. To me it is very scary, I dread moving.

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  10. Mary l Surma June 4, 2016 Reply

    Very informative, thanks for sharing this. I am a senior looking to move and downsize. Still looking for the right place.

  11. Moving companies June 10, 2016 Reply

    Well if your basement and attic are full, it’s time for getting rid of things that you don’t need. Or at last moving them to the parents house.

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  13. Margaret Malcolm June 17, 2016 Reply

    Enjoyed your article and tips. I have been de-cluttering for about 2 years; still a work in progress! I decided to tackle this before I needed to – while I still have the health and energy to do it MYSELF. My treasures have been passed on long ago. Now I ask myself, “When I’m gone, will this have any meaning to anyone?” If the
    answer is “No” … then why keep it?

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