When it’s Time to Downsize

When it's time to downsize

It’s something all caregivers don’t want to think about, yet they must: what to do with your loved one’s belongings when it’s time to downsize. Downsizing items not designated in a will can be a difficult and sensitive subject to discuss with your loved one (LO). However, being prepared will greatly ease stress later on.

How do I talk about downsizing with my loved one?

Downsizing can not only ease stress down the road, but it can provide a safer living environment for your LO. It’s common for seniors to hold onto memorabilia, but this can lead to hoarding in extreme cases. If unorganized, an excess of items can block important exits and be a greater risk for falls and accidents. Emphasizing health and safety is important when discussing downsizing.

  1. Create the habit of discarding unnecessary items early on, such as trash, expired items, or soon-to-expire items.

  2. Encourage your siblings or other relatives to sort through their own belongings. This can lessen the workload if your loved one stores items for others.

  3. Propose the solution of donating instead of discarding. Help them visualize their item’s value for someone else who could benefit from them.

  4. Start with one room at a time. Once you’ve tackled an individual room, it will be easier for your LO to see the benefits of downsizing for the rest of their home.

  5. Get an appraisal for antique items or determine other valuable items to sell to help with extra expenses.

  6. Try hiring a professional organizer to not only maximize time but to help handle and assess your LO’s emotional reactions to the process.

Downsizing with VerifyCare

Whether your LO is moving to a smaller home, transitioning into facilitated care, or preparing for when they are no longer here, sorting through belongings is an emotional experience. The Journal Module in VerifyCare can be a great place to communicate with all those involved in this process. If your siblings are far away or unable to be present, you can post images of certain items you have questions about in the Journal Module. All those on the Care Team can easily comment or share their thoughts. This will keep everyone on the same page and informed about how the downsizing process is going.

When it's time to downsize