July 31, 2019

A Quick Guide to Downsizing for Seniors

A decrease in mobility and coordination is a natural part of aging. Many senior individuals are required to find a new home due to physical limitations. You can ensure your future comfort and prepare for these changes in advance by downsizing to a smaller and more manageable space that requires less upkeep. Making the move while you’re still feeling fit is advisable as transitioning gets more difficult once you’re older. Let the advice below guide you to ensure a smooth and stress-free process.


Decide on your future space needs

Before you start downsizing, get an idea of how much you’ll need to trim down. Is it just you and your spouse sharing a home? Do you need a guest room for visiting children or grandchildren? Should you factor in entertaining, like hosting family holidays? You should also consider what rooms you spend the most time in and prioritize these spaces. Research has shown that families spend 68 percent of their time in either the kitchen or a living room where a television is located. A large kitchen may be more valuable than a big bedroom.


Factor in special mobility requirements

When looking for your future home, keep in mind that it should accommodate the mobility needs that come with aging. You probably don’t want a house with a lot of stairs, for instance. The kitchen and bathroom in particular should allow for renovations to support your safety, such as the installation of a curbless entry or shower seat. Note that a typical bathroom remodel in San Antonio ranges from $6,646 to $16,024. Such expenses should be factored into your overall costs when determining future space needs. Also consider how long renovations take.


Create a three-category sorting process

Once you know just how much space you will have, start sorting through your possessions. Create three categories: keep, sell, and give away. Go through one room of your home at a time to avoid having your entire living space in chaos. Make a policy of only assessing each item once: If you revisit every object you aren’t sure about, the process will never end.

Invest in a storage unit if needed

Getting rid of personal possessions can be emotionally taxing. If there are some items you simply aren’t ready to part with, consider putting them in storage temporarily. Once you have lived without them for a year, you might realize that they aren’t such “must have” items after all. Storage facilities come in various sizes and can hold everything from electronics to furniture. Check out these pointers on what to look for in a storage unit, like determining whether you want full storage or self-storage, the ideal size unit and how to measure, and checking on security and climate control.


Make your memories digital

Downsizing is especially difficult when it comes to sentimental items. Old pictures and family videos are understandably tough to let go of. The great news is that with modern technology, you can digitize these memories. This PC World guide explains the process, but you can also ask younger, more tech-savvy relatives to help you. You can still access those old memories at any time and they won’t require the storage space that boxes full of photo albums, DVDs, or videos would.


Gift sentimental objects early

Maybe you have a lovely piece of artwork you plan to leave your child — or perhaps there are some pieces of jewelry you’d like to gift your granddaughter. If you were planning to leave such items as part of an inheritance, consider presenting them now instead. You get to witness the recipient’s joy and know that your treasured objects are going to a good home. This also nixes the possibility of squabbles surrounding valuable items, which can otherwise lead to family feuds.

Taking steps like these make downsizing not only easy but also enjoyable. This experience doesn’t have to be stressful: You are preparing a cozy nest where you will feel safe and secure in the future. Keep this end goal in mind to frame the experience positively and encourage progress.

Resource - Empower the Elderly

Guest contributer
Mike Longsdon

Photo Credit:

​​​​​​​Michael Longsdon
24165 IH-10 West, Suite 217-170 San Antonio, TX 78257