When older Australians downsize from their larger homes, letting go of long-time belongings can be a daunting task.
As Australia’s trusted home care provider, Right at Home has experienced many situations where sudden changes to your older loved ones’ health have resulted in a need for them to downsize or having had the Right Conversations with you older loved ones, you may be helping them to downsize proactively. Read on for advice for you, your loved ones and their carers on this stressful topic.
When older Australians downsize from their larger homes, letting go of long-time belongings can be a daunting task. The central thing to remember, that despite the family decision to downsize, the reality of that decision takes a while to sink in. Saying goodbye to a home with so many happy memories, trials and tribulations, financial sacrifice, bringing up children, is stressful, and for many downright frightening.
Fortunately, there are workable solutions for helping you or your loved ones move into a smaller home, unit or retirement village.
Here are a few ideas:
- Plan for the reduced space. Get a floor plan from the agents. Use this to plan which essentials will fit and where.
- Recruit family and friends. Every bit of help makes the process more manageable. At the same time, remember that this is an emotional process, don’t allow it to become overwhelming.
- There are specialist consultancies in downsizing – they can help with packing and unpacking. This can certainly take away some of the pressure – sometimes the extra cost is worth it.
- Start Small. Begin with the room that is least used in the home and work on a closet or drawers first. Work at a comfortable pace and take breaks along the way to allow your loved one to share memories about possessions or the home itself.
- Try and preserve things like tools, toolboxes, sewing machines and things used for hobbies.
- Create sorting categories. Set up piles for keep, toss, to give away and donate. Allow some flexibility when your loved one expresses reluctance in the sorting process.
- Don’t get frustrated or impatient, at least don’t show it.
- Sell, donate or recycle. With bigger items like furniture or appliances, advertise in the local newspaper or in local online directories. Consider donating items to charities, and for certain antiques and memorabilia, check with museums, schools and libraries.
- Make sure that storage space is maximised in the new, smaller home.
- Make sure the new place has a proper internet connection, plugs for TV sets and communication devices and WIFI if you are in a retirement village.
- Make sure that the new place has good mobile phone reception.
- Think about installing panic buttons or emergency alarms in the new place.
- Think about in-home monitoring and communications.
Overall remember, what is your trash may be your loved one’s treasure. Show respect and practice patience. Your relationship is a cherished possession that can’t be replaced.
If the decision is made not to downsize, but to set up the home for easier senior living, renovations and a few gadgets may be able to assist with daily living. Here are some ideas from one of our previous blogs on modifications to keep your elderly loved ones safe.
You may also want to consider the services of Home Care Providers such as Right at Home, who can assist you older loved ones to remain independent in their own home providing assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as grooming, meal preparation, shopping, transport to and from medical appointments and companionship care.
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Founded in 1995, Right at Home offers in-home companionship and personal care, and assistance to seniors and adults living with a disability who want to continue to live independently or age in their home. Right at Home is your local expert for issues related to caring for your loved ones and is dedicated to keeping you informed about home care. With no admin or subscription fees Right at Home allows you to get more care from your package or budget.
Right at Home is a 'My Aged Care' government approved, home care provider for levels 1 – 4 and offers flexible in-home care services such as nursing care, after hospital care, post-operative care, respite care, dementia and Alzheimer's care. Right at Home also offers assistance with daily living such as grooming, hygiene, transport, shopping, meal prep, domestic services and social support, so your loved one can enjoy a more independent, vibrant life. Our nurses and caregivers are screened, highly trained and insured prior to entering your home so you can trust us with the caregiving while you focus on your loved one.
To find out more, please give us a call on 1300 363 802 or visit our website.