Tips for Downsizing for a Move to Assisted Living

Lisa Sealey
4 min readSep 26, 2020
Photo by Morning Brew on Unsplash

Moving into an assisted living facility is difficult in the best of circumstances. When it’s necessary because of illness or age, it is even harder. Before you start the process, remember how difficult it is for your relative to leave behind both their home and usually a great portion of their belongings. They also may be having a hard time adjusting to the fact that they are going to be losing some of their independence. As frustrating as the process may become, try to be encouraging and compassionate during the process. If you are in this situation, here are some tips to make the downsizing a little easier.

Make a plan. The sooner the better. Visit the community they will be moving into and get an idea of the size of the space they will have. If you can, take a tape measure with you so you get exact dimensions. This will help you to know how much space you have to work with and what furniture (if any) will fit. Next, write down a list of tasks that need to be completed each week up until the move. Having a list of things to do can reduce the overwhelm for all of you. Each time you complete one task, move on to the next.

Take an inventory. List everything you can think of right off the bat. Sometimes it’s easier to look at a list and realize that something needs to go rather than going through each room piece by piece. Make a notation of anything, especially large furniture, that won’t be coming to the new place. Once that’s done, you can go through the rooms and focus on anything that you haven’t already decided to get rid of. With the remaining items, ask these questions:

1. When was the last time they used it? If it’s been quite some time, it may need to go.

2. Do they use it often? If it’s something they only use once or twice per year, they probably won’t need it.

3. Does it have sentimental value? Anything with sentimental value should be put aside to be evaluated after the rest of the items have been dealt with.

4. Could they get by without it? Is it something they like, but aren’t going to use? For example, my grandmother LOVED her vacuum cleaner, but when she went into her assisted-living facility, she had no use for it because her apartment was cleaned for her twice per week.

Lisa Sealey

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