When It's Time to Downsize: Relocating Mom and Dad

Moving is stressful! Moving from a well-loved family home is emotional, but often a natural part of the aging process. If your parents recognize the need to move, you can eagerly assist them with this process. If you feel mom and dad are no longer able to care for themselves, or there are safety concerns, the topic needs to be gently approached. Aging minds and bodies that no longer work optimally can be frustrating and often scary. As people age, there is a perceived sense of loss of control.

Careful with the China downsizing.jpg

Emotions and a sense of urgency can often create drama. Most adult children want the best for their parents but may define ‘best’ in their own terms. Although your parents may need help, they still want to be heard. Listen and validate their grief. Listen to their concerns about moving. Listen to their wishes and needs. If your parents are involved in the process of this major change, they will be more accepting. Listen and help them chart this next chapter.

Once needs and wishes have been identified, it is now time to explore some options. Independent living communities, assisted living communities or nursing homes could be considered. Is a memory care unit needed?  Maybe mom and dad just need a smaller place with less maintenance. An apartment or condo? Do you happen to have a mother-in-law suite?

Okay, the parents agree that it is time to move. They have picked a spot and have a timeline in mind. Now, it is time to start planning the move. How does one fit 50 years of accumulated stuff into a two-bedroom apartment? Hint, you don’t! They won’t need as much furniture, or as many dishes or as many keepsakes. It’s time to sort things into keep, give away, sell, donate and trash/recycle.  If willing and able, it is important that your parents are a part of this process. If they seem too overwhelmed with the process, it is important to establish an advocate on their behalf, someone who genuinely has their best interest in mind.

When deciding what to keep, make sure there is a realistic idea of the size of their new home. Take measurements to ensure furniture will fit. Concentrate on keeping those things that will be used in the new home. Will they have room, or need, five china patterns? How are you going to fit all those books into their small home? Sentimental items can be gifted to the next generation. Storage options may need to be explored for those hard to decide items.  Many items may be sold through estate and/or consignment sales. This process may be emotional for you and your parents. That’s okay! You are sorting out the memories of their life.  Allow for the time it is going to take to process all the years and all the stuff. 

Things are sorted, now it is time to pack. Are you going to do it yourself? Family and friends will be a big help, but when it comes to moving heavy furniture you may want to enlist the help of professionals who have the experience and means to make sure it is done right. Of course, Careful with the China can help with the entire sorting, packing and moving process.

If we can ever be of any help navigating the twists and turns of moving mom and dad, please contact us at laura@carefulwiththechina.com 

We offer the logistics of moving, while recognizing the emotional aspect of boxing up a lifetime of memories. The team is compassionately efficient in making this sort of move a reality!