Elderly people are often resistant to the idea of moving to a new home even if it would make much more sense to leave behind a house that is too large for comfort. Most seniors have spent decades in the same place, and a move would not only be daunting but could be emotionally challenging as well. What’s more, in order to fit into a smaller living space, most people would need to part from many of their possessions, some of which are sure to hold dear memories for the elderly.
Yet as understandable as this hesitance may be, it does not make the situation any less frustrating for well-meaning loved ones. Living in a huge house can be taxing, especially for seniors suffering from illness, aging bones, or injury, and there are also the bills to think of. The amount of money spent on heating, rent, or mortgage could be reduced significantly by moving into a smaller apartment.
How to Better Convince Seniors to Downsize
Patience Is Key
Above all, avoid nagging since your elderly loved one might feel attacked and resist accordingly. Regardless of the reason or the urgency, do not insist on your point of view too much since it will only leave the other party feeling hurt and questioning your intentions. A good tactic is to bring up the issue only when the elderly complains about something that is related, such as if they have back pain due to hours spent weeding.
Leave time for the senior to come to terms with the situation. Over the course of months, baby steps will be much more effective than overwhelming your loved one with the scale of the task ahead. After all, they will likely have a lifetime of possessions to sort through, so offer help in decluttering the house and getting rid of junk, going room by room and compiling lists based on personal importance. This can later help further in narrowing down what to take along. Keep in mind, however, that once the relative has finally made up their mind, it is best to get the process over with as soon as possible!
Emphasize the Perks Instead of the Necessity
Elderly people living in large houses often feel isolated. It is a safe bet bringing up the prospect of finding like-minded company, regardless of what type of housing they will be moving into. No one likes having what they might perceive as inadequacies such as lack of strength, money problems, or limited mobility constantly dragged into conversations, so only talk about the positives of downsizing.
As with the initial sorting, it is not advisable to leave the elderly to flounder on their own after they have agreed to the move. Help them with the packing, arrange the transportation for them, and assist with unpacking as well. The presence of a loved one will also help ease the emotional distress that such a change could potentially cause.
Choosing the Right Housing
When choosing a place to live, it’s important to consider the reason for the move. If it is a condition with gradually deteriorating health that poses the issue, a retirement community could be a great choice since they contain multiple housing types that can be later changed, and skilled staff is available if the need arises. Retirement communities offer maximum stability and comfort for those wishing to spend their senior years in the same place, although they are quite expensive.
Assisted living includes an apartment-like setting but is geared towards people who need daily assistance more than independence. Nursing homes are for the physically or mentally impaired that require round-the-clock care.
There are options that maintain absolute independence while saving money at the same time, such as simply moving to a smaller apartment in a central area. And while having a safety net is always a good idea, in this case it is especially advisable to invest in some extra security for any emergencies that may arise. Installing an affordable medical alert system is a great way to make sure the elderly can get help anytime the need arises, particularly since a new environment is a prime situation for accidents. An alert system could give some much-appreciated peace of mind for everyone involved.
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