Making the move from a family home to a senior apartment is a major life change. It can be a difficult and emotional time for the person who’s downsizing, as well as, the entire family. We all spend a good deal of our lives building wealth and gathering possessions, so going through the process of downsizing may feel like you’ve gone from growing and thriving to giving up and declining.
But there are so many good reasons to move to a senior apartment, and lots of ways to make downsizing a positive experience.
Dealing with the Emotions of Downsizing
It’s normal to feel grief, worry or even fear about downsizing from your family home. It signifies the end of a major life stage and the acceptance of the next phase. Talking openly and honestly about these emotions is important, and if these emotions start to become overwhelming, there are professionals who can help.
If you’re moving into a senior living community, your new home is very likely to have resources to help you cope with the emotions of your move. What you’re feeling is completely normal, and there are people who can help you feel better, and even happy about it, as you should!
You can start with a conversation about why downsizing is a good idea and why this is the right time to do it. It may feel too soon to move from your home and to part with many of your possessions, but talking about it ahead of time allows you to process your thoughts and feelings before you begin acting on it.
Tips for Making a Successful Transition
Take it slow.
Moving out of a house into a senior apartment can’t happen in a weekend, so you shouldn’t expect it to. Just like with any large process, divide the work into manageable tasks, and focus on one thing at a time. If the process is not too overwhelming, the emotions may not be either.
Start with the least meaningful possessions.
A good place to start is with items that have little to no sentimental value. Getting rid of a lot of stuff you simply don’t need anymore will declutter your home in a way that can build momentum toward dealing with more emotionally important items later.
Any possessions that can be of use to others can be donated. This gives a sense of doing good and helping others, and it can be comforting to think of those items living on and being enjoyed by people who are benefitting from them.
When you’re dealing with the emotions of downsizing, it can help to identify items that have sentimental value. If you document them, you can choose who will receive them, and make sure they understand their importance to you. You can take a photo and add a description so that their significance can be remembered. This will also avoid any confusion when it comes to your wishes about who you want to receive each item.
Hire a professional moving company.
This can be a great help by taking much of the labor away from everyone who is emotionally involved in the process. A group of professionals can come in after items have been sorted and move them efficiently without damaging important items. Large items that are valuable but may not fit into a new space can be moved to a storage unit. Sometimes just knowing you still own items that are important to you, even if they can’t fit into a new space, can be comforting.
Acknowledge your feelings.
During this time of transition, understand that your emotions are real and valid. If they’re becoming overwhelming, you can reach out to a professional who can help you understand your feelings and give you methods to cope and feel good about your future.
Pay special attention to items you still use frequently, like a favorite reading chair or writing desk. Even with a significant reduction in space and material possessions, you can lessen the emotional impact of the change by keeping items that let you continue your favorite activities.
Focus on the positive.
Moving to a senior living community means you’re giving yourself a major lifestyle upgrade! Think of all the services, amenities, activities and conveniences that await you in your new apartment.
Engage with your new community as early and often as possible, even before the process of downsizing is completed. Feeling like you’re making forward progress toward something positive can ease your transition. Look ahead with excitement to the next chapter of your life.
If you’re considering moving to a senior living community, you can explore the floor plans at Fellowship Senior Living by signing up for Fellowship Ahead. We have beautiful spaces, wonderful amenities, and you have so much to look forward to.