Seniors Can Reap Big Benefits in Downsizing

There comes a certain time in many of our lives when we’re simply ready to move somewhere smaller. It could be because it’s becoming more difficult to manage a large property, the fact that the children have flown the coop, or even just because you want a change. There are numerous benefits to owning a smaller home from ease of cleaning to being more energy-conscious.

Here is a guide to help you get started.

How to pack the household for transport

Packing for a weekend getaway is one thing, but packing your entire house is quite another. The first part, and often the most difficult, is going through your things and coming up with what you can say goodbye to. A smaller space will, unfortunately, mean less room for things. Start by either going through your clothes and letting go of possessions that don’t fit or don’t make you feel good about yourself, or things you’ve not worn in over a year.

You could also start in your kitchen and get rid of the gadgets you don’t use, or the pots that are too big or too small for practical use. Once you have completed your purge, think about packing a first night box, full of stuff you will immediately need—from dinner supplies to your toothbrush and pajamas. For larger items, or if you simply have too much to do by yourself or with a partner, you may want to hire a company, not only to transport your items, but to pack them for you, too.

How to transition with pets

If you have pets, this is going to be a stressful experience for them. However, there are ways for you to mitigate their anxiety. If you stay calm through all the many stresses of moving, it will help your pet feel safe. If you introduce them to things slowly, it will help them as well. Take them for a few visits to the kennel where they will be staying during the move, introduce them to the new house or apartment before moving in, and get them crate-trained so they associate their crate with safety and comfort.

How to choose help

Research is going to be incredibly important during this time. You want a reliable moving company that is known for consistency and commitment to excellence. It’s one thing to get a recommendation from a friend, and that is often a good place to start, but you need to do a lot of digging. There are many websites you can visit to do some background checking, such as the Better Business Bureau, to get a few names. Once you have a few companies to pick from, get estimates and compare. It may be a lot of work, but it will be worth it to choose the best company possible for your budget.

How to take care of yourself

Moving is full of stress and uncertainty, so it’s extra important to take care of your own sense of well-being. Staying organized will help immensely when juggling the seemingly endless tasks ahead. Having a schedule will help keep you on track and succeed in keeping your blood-pressure down. Once you arrive at your new home, get each room organized so that you can really start the settling in process (this room-by-room guide will definitely help). Take your time unpacking each room, and as the moving boxes disappear, you’ll find that you are able to truly relax.

Balancing your schedule perfectly may not be enough to keep a level head, so find ways that work for you to relax. Whether it is working out every morning, doing yoga in the afternoon, reading your favorite or newest novel, or even taking a long hot bath twice a week, do something to unwind and keep yourself sane.

Downsizing can seem intimidating, but it’s worth it if it makes your life easier. Less things to look after, smaller spaces to clean, less stairs to navigate all can improve the quality of your life and open up more of your time to find things you enjoy. These truly are the golden years and rather than spend them cleaning a large house you just don’t need, make time for yourself and your loved ones and truly thrive.

Written by Lydia Chan

Living Facilities Provide Support as We Age

As we and our loved ones age, sometimes we need to readjust living situations to get the support that is needed in all stages of life. There are a wide variety of housing options to fit any age, health, or desired residency services.

Congregate Living

Photo by Patrick, flickr.com

Congregate living is commonly known as residential care, custodial care, or support housing. It allows for independent living and privacy while still having access to continual supervision and care. Congregate living offers private apartments as well as common areas where residents can socialize. The facility may offer convenient services, such as cleaning and laundry, transportation outside the facility, and even meals in the common dining room. Congregate living facilities have 24-hour staff to check up on and assist residents.

Assisted Living

Assisted-living facilities are long-term residency options that offer personal care. For example, facility services usually include laundry, transportation, personal care (bathing, dressing, etc.), housekeeping, shopping, exercise or social activities, medication assistance, and all meals.

If you or a loved one are struggling to care for personal well-being and a home, assisted living is a valuable option. Assisted-living facilities are a benefit for those with declining personal hygiene, a disorderly or dirty home, an empty refrigerator or panty, or perilous forgetfulness.

Skilled Nursing Facilities

Nursing homes have two distinct residency options. Nursing homes house and care for short-term residents who are recuperating from surgery or illness or are in need of physical therapy. Nursing homes also house and care for long-term residents that need additional medical and personal care beyond that of an assisted-living facility.

Whether residents are short or long term, nursing facilities typically offer private or semiprivate rooms with shared bathrooms. Since the facility focuses on providing medical care, social activities are usually minimal.

Accessory Apartments and Add-On Living Spaces

Some houses might have the space and structure for add-on living spaces, which can allow you or a loved one to stay close to and be cared for by family or friends. Add-on spaces can be free-standing structures, like a small house in the same lot, or can be an additional apartment or complete living space within the home. These add-on living spaces generally have their own separate entrance, bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen or cooking facility.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities

Continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) are facilities that offer several levels of care within one location. Facilities can include independent living, assisted living, special care living (memory, etc.), and nursing and rehabilitation. These communities can carefully guide residents through varying stages of health and aging. Residents can feel secure in knowing they will be cared for, without having to move, as their needs change.

Small-Scale Assisted Living

Small-scale assisted living, often called foster care or group homes, can offer simple board and care in a smaller, home-type setting. Generally, these facilities are private homes that have been converted to offer care for four to ten residents. These facilities work to serve people who do not want to or cannot live independently but don’t need a nursing-home environment.

Living Facilities to Match Our Needs as We Age

There are incredible housing options to support us and our loves ones as we age. There are living facilities for those who prefer a private home setting and for those looking for a full-care facility. Carefully consider how you and your loved ones can best live comfortably and what you want in a care facility or home, then make the plans and preparations so you and your loves ones can be happily cared for.

—Stephanie Bentley