January 21, 2020
Moving is a big undertaking at any stage of life, and it can be especially difficult for older adults transitioning from a large family home to a smaller living space. The decision to downsize to a senior apartment in a retirement community represents a major life change, one that comes with a lot of emotions.
That’s because a home is more than just a place to live; it’s where decades worth of memories have been made. Letting go of a long-time home—and the belongings inside it—can open a floodgate of feelings, including sadness, grief, stress, anxiety, and uncertainty.
Despite the emotions that downsizing can stir up, after the move, many retirees consider downsizing to a senior apartment one of the best decisions they’ve made. It’s not uncommon to hear people say, “I wish I had moved sooner!”
While there’s no avoiding the emotional side of downsizing, it shouldn’t hold you back from living the retirement you deserve. Here are some tips to help you cope with the emotions of downsizing:
Acknowledge your feelings
Like any change in life, downsizing isn’t easy. It’s important to allow yourself to experience your emotions; don’t try to hold them back. Sharing your feelings with a friend, family member, or counselor can take a weight off your shoulders and help you understand your emotions. Journaling is another simple and soothing way to express your feelings throughout the downsizing process.
The idea of sorting through decades worth of memories and belongings can be downright daunting. It’s one of the main reasons why so many people delay downsizing! But no matter how overwhelming it may seem, downsizing a large home is possible. The key is to start small and tackle just one room—or closet—at a time. As you get used to a system of sorting, decluttering, and organizing, you’ll gain momentum.
Don’t go it alone
Downsizing can be draining, both physically and emotionally. Ease some of the stress of moving by enlisting help from family members, friends, or even a professional senior move manager. A senior move manager is an expert who specializes in helping older adults and their families with the entire downsizing process, from planning the moving day to packing boxes to assisting with the actual move. Some professional move managers will organize auctions or estate sales to make the downsizing process even easier.
Focus on the positives
It can be easy to get “tunnel vision” when working on an overwhelming project like downsizing. However, don’t let yourself fixate on the past or the challenges of letting go. Instead, focus on all the positives that downsizing will bring to your life. For example, if you’re downsizing to a senior apartment in a retirement community, remind yourself how much you’ll enjoy a more laid-back, low-maintenance lifestyle. Think about the rewarding activities or hobbies you can try and new friendships you’ll make. When you’re not worried about keeping up with a larger home, you’ll have more freedom to live the retirement you’ve always dreamed about!
Get help navigating the downsizing process
Retirement communities like Bethany Village have Transitions Coordinators to help new residents navigate the downsizing process and transition seamlessly to their senior apartment. We also connect residents and their families to trusted local resources, including senior move managers and professional organizers, for a more stress-free downsizing experience from start to finish.