Moving into a Florida assisted living community can be the best path forward for you or your senior loved one to live a happy, safe, less stressful life.
Imagine no more house upkeep and maintenance. You can participate in fun daily activities with friends and family and enjoy great food without having to do all the cooking, cleaning and dishes. And the friendly and qualified staff is there to help with your needs as they arise.
But even with all the positive reasons for making a Florida assisted living community your new home, moving can become one of the most stressful activities. And with most new residents, moving is only half the equation. Downsizing is the other.
Most seniors moving to assisted living are downsizing into a new residence that is smaller and easier to navigate and maintain. Moving into a smaller down-sized home can be a peaceful and freeing experience, especially with maintenance and staff just a phone call away.
But after years and decades of accumulating roomfuls of lovingly-gathered mementos, furniture, and other possessions, it is helpful to figure out what to do with your belongings long before moving, if possible. Some people are minimalist by nature, so moving is easy for them.
Others tend to keep rooms of possessions they meant to give away or donate but just haven’t gotten around to it yet.
Transitioning to assisted living can be a big change, and downsizing can be a key part of that process. Below are 7 steps that Florida seniors can take to help make a move to assisted living a smooth one.
1. Start Early
It’s best to start downsizing as early as possible to give yourself plenty of time to sort through your possessions and decide what to keep and what to get rid of. Most people are unaware of the vast number of items they have accumulated over the years.
One often-quoted study claims that American households contain more than 300,000 items. But that counts everything from paper clips to office supplies to socks. A European study has the number of items per household at more than 10,000.
Either way, everyone has more “stuff” than they thought and starting early, when possible, is the best way to go through it.
2. Make A List of What You Need
Instead of trying to decide what you don’t need – do the opposite. Make a simple list of things you will absolutely need in your new home.
The list should include all the things you use daily that are important to you. This might include clothing, toiletries, medications, and other items you use regularly. You should prioritize these items first when sorting through your possessions.
And remember to bring or safely store all your important documents. These can include deeds, wills, titles, advance directives, and more. These documents should always be safe, secure, and easy to access quickly.
Also, consider what furniture you want to have in your new home. Which nightstands, tables, chairs, or couches will make your new residence feel like your new home?
Which pictures, tchotchkes, and knickknacks surround you with warm memories and feelings? Bring all your favorite clothing. Find out what kitchen and dining items you will need and which you will not.
So, your first focus is prioritizing the items you need. Keep in mind the space and storage options you will have in your new assisted living home will help you determine what you need to bring with you and what can be left behind.
Once you make your “Must Have” list, everything else falls into one of the below categories:
- Sentimental Things to Keep
- Give to Relatives
- Donate to Charity
- Throw Out
If you set up piles, boxes, or areas for these remaining categories, your decluttering becomes simple.
3. Keep Sentimental Items
Deciding which sentimental items to keep when downsizing to move into assisted living can be challenging. It can be emotional to let go of possessions that hold sentimental value or have been a part of your life for a long time.
However, it is essential to remember that the goal of downsizing is to simplify and make daily life easier, and this includes sentimental items.
Consider the emotional value of the item. Think about the memories and emotions it brings. If the item brings you joy and happiness, then consider keeping it. But if you have been holding onto something out of obligation, it may be time to let it go.
Take into account the size and layout of your new home and the available storage options. Do you have room for the item in your new home, or will it take up valuable space that could be used for other things? If you do not have room for the item, it may be time to find it a new home.
Also, consider whether you can digitize the item, like a photograph or a document. This will allow you to keep the memory and the information without taking up physical space. It also makes things easier to find.
With a bit of time, effort, and thought, you can easily decide which sentimental items to keep when downsizing to move into assisted living.
4. Give to Family Members
Giving away items to family members can be a smart and thoughtful way to help downsize. It allows you to share your possessions with people you care about and keep sentimental items within the family.
However, it is important to approach this process with sensitivity and consider your family members’ feelings and needs. Some children or grandchildren might need furniture. Others might simply want a sentimental heirloom.
To avoid hurt feelings, communicate your intentions before giving away items to family members. This helps your family members understand what you are doing and why. And it allows them to express any concerns or preferences they may have. Many family arguments have started over who got a particular family heirloom and who did not. Communication is the key.
Another helpful tip is to check all the items you are getting rid of for hidden money you might have stashed. You never know what you will find!
5. Donate to Charity
Donating items to charity is another downsizing option that is generous and selfless. It allows you to pass on your possessions to others who can benefit from them, and it can also be a rewarding and satisfying way to give back to your community.
When giving items to charity, consider the needs and preferences of the charity. Some charities accept a wide range of items, while others have more specific needs.
It is also a good idea to call the charity to confirm their donation policies and arrange a convenient time for drop-off or pickup. Donating items to charity can be a positive way to declutter and impact your community.
6. Sell Your Stuff
Selling items not only helps you declutter, but also generates extra income as you downsize to move into your new assisted living home. There are many options for selling items, including garage sales, online marketplaces such as eBay and Facebook, and secondhand stores.
When selling items, it helps to know their value and condition. And selling high-value items, like collectibles or high-quality furniture, is different from selling everyday items.
Suppose you have items you do not want to keep, give to a family member, or donate to charity. In that case, selling is an easy and income-producing option. And with today’s online platforms and technologies, selling is easier than ever.
7. Time to Say Goodbye and Toss it Out
Deciding what to keep and what to throw away can be challenging.
But if you have gone through the above filters, you simply throw out things that are
- Not essential
- Not sentimental items
- Not donated to charity
- Not given to relatives
- Not worth selling
Everything that does not fit in one of the above categories should be thrown away.
For example, an item that is broken or in poor condition, like the 15-year-old couch in the garage or the broken 9-year-old television, needs to be thrown away.
But be careful. Some items you may think are old and useless have resale markets. You might think an old 8-track tape player or cassettes are worthless. But you can sell them quickly on eBay.
Your Next Best Step
Moving into your new assisted living residence can be an exciting adventure. And moving does not have to be difficult if you know how to downsize and find great local movers.
But helping a Florida senior loved one can seem overwhelming, especially if you live outside the state or area.
Let us help.
We are a Florida-based company with expert knowledge of the Florida senior market. We know how to help with the move and ensure a smooth transition into the new assisted living community.
While senior options can seem confusing, this is all we do.
Florida Senior Consulting helps seniors decide their next best steps so they can live their best lives with safety and security.
We have certified staff, licensed nurse advocates, and decades of experience in the field.
Senior living should be on your terms, and the choice should always be yours.
Call us, and we will answer all your questions and help you decide what is best for you or your senior loved one.