Even though we know the many benefits of moving to a senior living community, many older adults put off the process of downsizing. The anticipation of stress can lead many people to delay their move until an emergency makes it vital. But beginning the process of downsizing your home while you’re healthy and strong allows you to make the most of this opportunity for you and your family.
To help take some of the anxiety out of the endeavor, we’ve put together helpful tips for dealing with the emotions of downsizing.
Tips for Dealing with the Emotions of Downsizing
- Acknowledge your emotions:
A house carries many memories, and it can be hard to leave a place where you shared happy times. Almost everyone moving to a new place feels nervous about their next step. You don’t have to ignore any of these feelings, but be sure to add a healthy dose of the antidote: gratitude. Give thanks for the good times you spent in the space. Celebrate the growth you’ve experienced there and honor the role it’s played in your life. Leaving the location cannot take away your memories.
Don’t forget nerves and excitement are two sides of the same coin. Acknowledge your happy emotions as well. Maybe you’re looking forward to not needing that garden hose or the grout cleaner. Maybe you can’t wait to live closer to friends. Perhaps you’re eager to have a fully equipped fitness center and salon services right on campus. Allow those positive feelings to weave through your emotional tapestry while you undertake the process of downsizing.
Talk to friends or family members who have downsized to get their suggestions. Talk to them about any trepidation you might feel. Hearing their perspective from the other side of downsizing may help you feel more hopeful and motivated. If your anxiety is severe, speak to a therapist. They may be able to help you discover the root of your apprehension and/or help you develop constructive coping mechanisms.
You’re certainly not alone if you find the idea of downsizing bittersweet. Make sure you take good care of your physical and emotional health throughout the process.
- Make a plan:
If you’re looking around your house and feeling daunted by the prospect of going through it all, set a plan for yourself. Breaking down the project into smaller tasks makes taking on the endeavor and dealing with the emotions of downsizing seem much more manageable. Start with one room and proceed through the house. Recruit an unbiased friend or family member to help you make tricky decisions.
As you move through the house, separate items into four different categories.
Passing down furniture or treasures to the next generations can significantly ease some of the strain of parting with them. If you know a family member has always loved a certain piece, take the opportunity to give it to them. This way, you get to see their joy when they receive it. For some of the bigger pieces of furniture, ask any loved ones who are moving into their first apartment or first house if they would like to have them. Watch how the same items you’ve loved can bring happiness to children, grandchildren and friends.
You may want to sell some of your valuable pieces, especially if their worth has appreciated over the years. The most valuable items may need to be appraised or sold through an expert trader. Others could be sold through sites like eBay, Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
You probably have many items that people in your community would benefit from. When you donate to people in need, any sadness you might feel in parting with the items will be eased by the gratification of making a difference.
Of course, there will be treasured items that absolutely must stay with you wherever you go. These items will only become more precious as they make the journey with you to your new home.
- Focus on the benefits of moving:
While dealing with the emotions of downsizing, try not to ruminate on the challenges of the downsizing process. Focus on what you’re going to love about selling your house, moving to your new community, and living with new services and amenities.
What can you do with the equity you’ve accrued in your house?
Your house has been a significant investment, and now you get to decide how you want to use the added equity. Maybe there’s a trip you’ve always wanted to take, or maybe you want to invest that money for future health care. The savings from your house can be a great boon to your lifestyle or provide invaluable peace of mind.
What chores and tasks can you take off your to-do list?
If you’re downsizing to move to a senior living community like Village on the Green, you can look forward to a maintenance-free lifestyle. Without yardwork or home maintenance, your time is freer to pursue passions. Always hated mowing the lawn? You won’t have to anymore.
What aspects of your new community excite you?
During the process of downsizing, remember all the benefits of making this move. You may look forward to the clubs and activities, the fitness classes, the delicious food or the proximity to community attractions. Keep those aspects in mind throughout your journey.
If you’re feeling sad or anxious about downsizing, you’re certainly not the only one. Your feelings are natural, but like any big challenge, there are important rewards that make the process worthwhile. If you acknowledge your feelings, make a plan and focus on the benefits awaiting you, downsizing can become much more manageable.
To find out more about the rich lifestyle at Village on the Green, complete the form at the bottom of the page. A member of our team would be happy to reach out to you and provide more details.