Helping Your Parent Move to a Senior Care Community


You convinced your parent it's time to move to a senior care community. It's a senior care reality that your parent must downsize her possessions.  The process of leaving the family home and moving to a senior care community is tiring, overwhelming and emotional.

Ten tips to help your parent downsize into a senior care community:

1.     Consider hiring a professional organizer or senior care move specialist to help your parent downsize.  A professional has the detachment and tact to keep the downsizing process moving along.

2.     Take pictures of your parent's home inside and out before you start downsizing. After the move, create an album for your parent of the family home.

3.     Pull together a timeline starting with your parent's move date to the senior care community and working backwards.

4.     Measure your parent's new senior care living space and draw a plan.  Have your parent decide which furniture that she will take.  Measure the furniture and use the plan to see if everything fits.  You may need to purchase smaller size versions of furniture to fit in your parent's new senior care living quarters.

5.     If you have the time, consider having your parent move into her senior care community first, and then clear her former home. This can help your parent detach from her accumulated possessions.

6.      Don't take over the sorting and disposal of your parent's things. Your parent should be involved in downsizing for her move to a senior care community unless health or mental clarity prevents it.

7.     Allow time for stories and reminiscing.  Celebrate your shared memories.

8.     Schedule sorting sessions when your parent is most energetic.

9.     Sort possessions into four main categories, keep, give to relatives, donate and trash.  Have labels and pens on hand to mark the items for relatives.  If your parent has some unwanted, valuable items, set them aside for sale.

10.  Help your parent sort with compassion.  You see a rocking chair. Your mother remembers rocking you in it.

Most seniors keep too much when they downsize.  Once your parent is settled in her new senior care living space, she can sort through her excess possessions again.

Have you helped your parent downsize and to a senior care community?  What tips can you share?

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--Janice Wallace


1 Response

  1. [...] Er kan echter het nodige gedaan worden om de overgang minder stressvol te laten verlopen. Op het Elder Care ABC Blog geeft Janine Wallace een aantal tips voor het bepalen van de uiteindelijke [...]
  2. Hello Janine, I was so enthousiastic about this post I translated your ten tips in Dutch, added my own story and placed it on my blog (also concerning elderly care, but it's in Dutch). I can tell you already that it has been linked on a management oriented forum in Belgium. Having seen quite some elderly moving in a nursing home or community, it always amazed me to see how much stress it involved. I am going to ask the headnurse of my team wether giving this kind of info to new caretakers or family is an option. I really think it is. Thank's again you for this post, and if you don't agree with me using it in the way I described, please send me an e-mail.
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