5 Tips to Downsize to a Senior Living Community as a Senior

Downsizing to move to a senior living community can be a daunting process. Use these 5 tips to help make the transition go smoothly.


Senior woman holding a small house in her handsOlder adults often reach the conclusion that the family home is too big, or that they need help with personal care or household tasks and don’t want to ask their adult children. Whatever their reason, downsizing to the right size living space becomes the goal. For many, that means a move to a senior living community.

Downsizing sometimes comes with anxiety and stress for the senior and those who love them. Knowing how and where to start the process can be overwhelming. The longer an older adult has lived in the home, the more difficult downsizing can be.

Here are a few suggestions you can use to help make the transition go more smoothly.

5 Tips for Helping a Senior Loved One Downsize

1. Think about what matters most

Ask your loved one which of their belongings they just can’t part with. Prioritize the most important items. Keep in mind that they won’t have as much space, so being realistic is important.

Help your loved one create a list of treasures that won’t be making this move but are important to keep in the family. Then you can figure out who might be interested in them.

2. Create a floor plan for the new space

Get the measurements of the apartment at the senior living community, ask the staff for a copy of the floor plan of your loved one’s new space. Make sure it has the dimensions listed for each room. (You can find floor plans for The Wesley Community online.)

Next, measure each piece of furniture your family member wants to take with them. Use these measurements to figure out where each piece will fit in the new home. You might find sites like RoomSketcher or HomeStyler to be helpful.

3. Start early and take your time

If your older family member has lived in their home for a long time, they have likely accumulated more belongings than they realize. Families often feel paralyzed about how to begin, which leads to them putting off getting started and then trying to downsize the entire house in a few days. That can increase the stress and anxiety associated with the process.

Starting early, even before you have made a final decision on a senior living community, gives you the advantage of time. You’ll be able to work your way through each room while reminiscing about family photos and treasures you find.

4. Decide where and how to start downsizing

Create an action plan for which rooms to start in and when. Downsizing experts often suggest starting in the least used rooms of the house and working up to those with items you use most often.

While this is a personal decision for your family to make, some find it helpful to first go through the whole house and get rid of any obvious clutter. For example, items like old newspapers and magazines are usually easy to part with and can make a room look less intimidating to pack up.

5. Create a plan for unneeded items

One challenge you will likely encounter is figuring out what to do with items your loved one won’t have space for and no one in the family needs.

Ask around to determine what charities will and won’t accept. Some have pick-up services for furniture donations. Don’t forget to ask for a receipt so your senior loved one can deduct the donation when they file their taxes.

The Continuum of Care at The Wesley Community

If you are looking for senior care in the Saratoga Springs, New York, area, we hope you will consider The Wesley Community. With a full continuum of care ranging from home care to assisted living and rehab, we have a care solution to meet every need. We encourage you to schedule a tour today!