1. Moving is challenging at any age
And it only gets harder the older you get. Having a really organized home dramatically simplifies a move — if you decide that’s what you want.
2. Alleviate hidden stress
You will have many years without the nagging feeling like you “should” be getting organized. Studies show that the volume of possessions can elevate stress hormone levels.
3. Make your own choices before someone has to make them for you
1 in 10 people over 65 and older have Alzheimer’s dementia and almost 2/3 of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women.
4. Expect the unexpected
Sudden illness may strike, leaving you with your pants down. Who do you know who has looked forward to their retirement years to catch up on all those postponed house projects and been caught off guard by a stroke or onset of dementia?
5. Get a fresh start now!
Getting organized is like starting a life chapter. The process of decluttering enables you to take stock of your past and make decisions about what you will bring forward into your future. What do you have from your past you’d like to leave behind?
Start organizing today by tackling one small space…a drawer, a shelf or countertop. And reward yourself for your efforts!
Are your parents ready to move? Maybe one is thinking about moving but the other isn’t ready? Are you worried about their safety and think they should be thinking about moving but they don’t seem interested at all?
Assess the situation and be realistic. Deciding to downsize is process with many layers and chapters. Where are your parents in that process?
- Not ready. Can’t see themselves leaving home
- Considering the possibility, but not convinced
- Ready but don’t know where or how
- Ready and have a plan
Assuming your folks ARE ready to move and are just getting started, here are some tips for helping you successfully help them:
- Your pace may not be their pace. Be respectful and mindful of where your parents are at in the process of being ready to move. You’ll only be able to go as fast as they are capable and willing to. Understanding their resistances rather than fighting them will enable you to better tailor your message to their ears.
- Help assess their immediate needs. Are they or you considering moving because of a need around safety, health, hygiene, housekeeping, meals, or social life? Help identify solutions to challenges in these areas while they are still at home if possible.
- Don’t let your attachments hold them bac Can’t believe they are wanting to get rid of the special quilt Aunt Mary made? Then you take it!
- Don’t take sides. When one person in the couple wants to move but the other doesn’ Generally, unless health and safety are at risk, there are many pros and cons to moving – all subject to a particular person’s perspective. Remember that the negotiation process between couples is complicated and not so much about right and wrongs as it is about finding a set of solutions that both can live with.
- Offer to find resources. Downsizing and moving can require a lot of research and using different vendors – offer to research and coordinate potential resources that may be needed during the process. This can allow your parent to focus on the work of sorting and decision making.
- Estate sale folk, auction houses, online auctions: who is in the area? How do they work and what percentage do they take? What happens to the things not sold?
- Thrift stores – which ones will come pickup from the house? Which ones require staging things outside? Who will take what?
- Hazardous waste – how to get rid of leftover cleaners and chemicals in your area? (stopwaste.org) Are free pickups offered for seniors in your area?
- Free city bulky waste pickups – most cities offer at least 1 per year but all have different rules about how to schedule them, what can be picked up, and how items have to be organized at the curb.
- Movers & packers – find out rates, ranges, and availability. Check reviews and call references
- Professional moving/organizing help – Sometimes an extra hand is needed to make the move happen. NASMM.org and NAPO.net both offer search pages to find professionally trained help in your area.
Additional resources you may find useful: