Over time, our homes collect clutter as they collect memories, which can make the process of downsizing not just a logistical challenge, but an emotional one. However, the downsizing process can have several significant benefits for both you and your aging parents. Downsizing can pave the way for your parents to age in place, can provide a safer place for living, and can make a space more conducive to long-term in-home care in the future.How do I talk to my parents about downsizing?
Whether your parents need to downsize clutter or make the move to a more manageable setting, you can help them reach this important decision. With your emotional and physical support, you can help to set your parents up for a successful, smoother aging process. Often, the best way to do so is to present the benefits and facts early and clearly, and let your parents reach the final decision on their own in time. Below, are some important conversation starters to help your parents understand the many upsides of downsizing!
Downsizing can create a safer environment
Getting rid of clutter can make a home safer for elderly individuals to maintain their lifestyle. By eliminating excess clutter and unused items including rugs and furniture, you remove tripping hazards and other dangers from the equation. This can mean taking a space from hazardous or not sustainable in the long term to a home where your parents can safely and comfortably age in place.
If the process seems very overwhelming, or your parents need to rehome large furniture and other bulky items, consider bringing in an expert. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, and the National Association of Senior & Specialty Move Managers is a great resource.
Downsizing helps prepare for the future
The downsizing process can also allow parents to comfortably fit into a new home setting such as an assisted living community, which can be a good choice for those seeking more accessible features, less maintenance, and fewer housing related expenses. Downsizing now can make moving in the future easier, so even if your parents are not ready to take the big step now, starting small is a great way to ease into the process. And if they decide to stay, they will be better prepared for aging in place in home.
Creating space for in-home care and adjustments
As your parents grow older, they may incur new health challenges that require adjustments, such as additional assistive devices and home modifications like bathroom grab bars and guard rails. Downsizing can prepare your parent’s space for these modifications ahead of time, limiting additional stress in what can be an already stressful time.
Downsizing can also create a more comfortable and efficient setting for in-home care, including home health aides who can come in and provide assistance with personal care and companionship. They can also help with household tasks that your parents may not be able to keep up with as well as they age, such as laundry and meal preparation. This is also helpful if your parents develop the need for a live-in caregiver, having a room cleared ahead of time can help you focus on organizing the care, and not the living arrangements.
Ultimately, downsizing can make aging in place a reality for many families. It can free up valuable space and money, and be beneficial in the long term. Whether your parents need to downsize to make space for caregivers and assistive devices in their homes, or to move into a new home with a more manageable structure, you can approach the process with confidence. Check out the Family Caregiver Alliance Checklist for Downsizing for additional information on how to get started early.
BAYADA supports families through it all
Even when everyone is on the same page regarding downsizing, it can be a challenging and emotional time. When and if the time comes, the professionals at BAYADA are ready to assist you and your elderly parents on their journey. Our compassionate home health aides provide expert care and support in many areas.