Monday, February 4, 2013

Do you have an elderly parent moving to a Senior Facility?—tips for downsizing.

 By Bob Gregory

In most cases, moving to a Senior Facility will require some downsizing for your parent.  They may need a few items of furniture but if your parent has a house full of furniture, plan for a major project!  It's not just the furniture, think of the kitchen tools, plates, glasses and flatware--both everyday and the fine china.  Then there's the clothes, nick knacks, collectibles, pictures, linens...well, you get the picture!  Not all Senior Facilities provide furnished living quarters so you should check with the facility you have chosen to see what household items your parent will need to bring with them.  Be sure and ask for a floor plan so you can plan your parent’s space so that it is not overcrowded and there is easy access to avoid potential falls.  So where do you begin?  You begin with your parent's idea of how to downsize.  This will tell you what you are in for and set the tone.

Here are some ideas of how to downsize:

  1. If your parent is agreeable, now is a great time to place those family heirlooms in the right hands.  Your parent can divide the household items they will not need among the siblings or other family members.  This can help turn a potentially sad event into a joyous one. 
  2. If your parent needs extra money for the move, a garage sale is a great way to get rid of extra items and make a little money for your parent.  This may offset the cost of the move  or e
    Estate sale
    Estate sale (Photo credit: Lynn Kelley Author)
    ven buy new furniture more suited for the new facility.
  3. Donate items to charity.  This is a great way to help others and possibly create a tax deduction for your parent.  Most of the larger charities will send a truck to pick up the items, saving you and your siblings a lot of work.
  4. Ask the facility if there are residents who need unwanted items.  This is a good way to make friends for your parent.  A word of caution, if your parent has memory issues, they may forget they gave the items as a gift and instead, believe the items to be stolen!
  5. If your parent isn't ready to part with anything, you may want to consider a storage unit.  This can be costly and is usually only delaying the inevitable.  However, if it helps with the transition, it's probably worth the money even if you have to pay!

Downsizing is difficult in any situation, but in the case of a move to a Senior Facility, it can cause your parent to feel depressed.  Be considerate of your parent's feelings and do not argue or fight over who gets what.  Make it as pleasant and as enjoyable as possible for your parent.  Share the stories and memories the items you keep remind you of.  Be sure and thank your parent for the "treasures" you receive and treat them as such.  I also suggest you document the disposal of all your parent's assets.  As I mentioned earlier, if memory is an issue with your parent, you may be accused of not following their wishes should they forget what took place.  Finally, give some thought to this project because once you give away items, it’s hard to get them back.

If you find you need an Assisted Living Facility, Nursing Home or any other type of Senior Facility, I hope you will consider
If you would like to contribute your thoughts and ideas, please leave them in our comment section. We want to hear them. Helping people care for themselves or their loved ones is what we care about. 

We look forward to reading yours.

Bob Gregory is an advocate for Seniors and is one of the founders of At, we are dedicated to helping families get the Elder Care help they need without having to provide their personal information! If find you need an assisted living facility or other type of senior facility, please consider

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1 comment:

  1. As an estate liquidator, I have a few additional tips:

    If you are able to bring some furniture with you, obtain a floor plan of your new home beforehand, that way you can figure out what will fit and what won't.

    Most people have YEARS worth of photo's...why waste precious space bringing them with you? Why not scan them into a computer, then save them to an exterior storage device such as a disc?