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Blogging in Place

How to Help the Elderly Get Rid of Old Belongings

Sep 02 2020

by Kate Chaplan

Whether your loved one is moving into a smaller home or an assisted living community, they are going to need to downsize their belongings. They may need some help deciding what to get rid of and what to take to their new home. Use the following tips to help your elderly loved one get rid of their old belongings.

Have A Discussion

A discussion about getting rid of old belongings is never easy for anyone, so you want to approach the subject with compassion and sensitivity. If your loved one is approaching you about downsizing, you should still remain compassionate and sensitive to the subject. One idea is to help them make goals for their new space, as this may encourage them to get rid of their old belongings.

Start with Smaller Items

It is better to start with smaller items rather than dive right into the sentimental items. You can help them sort through the clothes they no longer wear, smaller appliances they never use and old newspapers and magazines. Medication, toiletries and cosmetics that are expired should be discarded. You want to save the items with sentimental value for last.

Help with Bigger Decisions

Your loved one may need help making bigger decisions as they downsize. One example is the car they never drive but had for many years. Remind them that they can sell the car if it is in good condition, and there are places that pay money for junk cars if it no longer runs. Your loved one can use that money to treat themselves to items for their new home.

Consider Sentimental Items

It is going to be difficult for your loved one to go through items that have sentimental value. You can make it easier on them by finding an alternative to getting rid of these items. Photographs can be placed in a physical or digital album, and their favorite books can be downloaded to an e-reader. You can also make a quilt from apparel and accessories that hold special memories.

Make the Transition Easy

If you really want to help your loved one downsize, be sure to make their transition into their new home as easy as possible. Small appliances, decorative pieces, throw blankets and other items they are keeping should be placed in their new space immediately. It creates a familiar atmosphere that gives them a sense of being at home.

It is not always easy to get rid of the items you have had for so many years. If you keep the above tips in mind, you can make downsizing an easier experience for your loved one.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan