How to Downsize Your Seniors Home When Moving to Assisted Living

How to Downsize Your Seniors Home When Moving to Assisted Living

Moving from the family home to an assisted living facility can be a difficult transition for seniors, their children, and other family members. To ease the strain of the move, it’s important to help your parent choose wisely when downsizing their possessions. These simple steps will help you deal with this transition in a way that works best for everyone involved.

Take Your Time

There’s a lot of emotional capital in your parents’ belongings, so it’s important to take your time and consider each item carefully. Try not to get overwhelmed or attached to their possessions, as these emotions can cloud your decision-making process. Instead, take note of sentimental value items for yourself and for family members who may want them. And remember that if you don’t think an item is worth keeping, don’t keep it!

Let Go of the Need to Keep Everything in Pristine Condition

Downsizing is an emotional process, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. You can help your parents let go of possessions that aren’t important to them anymore or that they don’t need in their new living situation. If you hold onto things just for sentimental reasons and never use them again, consider giving them away or selling them so someone else can enjoy them.

Repurpose What You Can’t Sell

Do your parents have a lot of stuff? Do they have the equipment they’re never going to use again? For example, does Dad collect model trains? Is Mom a knitter or seamstress? Could you donate that equipment to someone who needs it instead of selling it on Craigslist or throwing it out when your parents move in with another family member or into an assisted living facility?

Declutter Without Hurting Feelings

Going through a loved one’s possessions to determine what can be decluttered and donated is an emotionally fraught task, but it absolutely needs to be done. The way you approach things will make a difference in how smoothly things go. So it’s important to think through your process before downsizing. Be sure to enlist help from other family members or friends who might have different perspectives on what should stay or go.

Understand the Value of Memories

It’s human nature to hold on to material items like clothes, jewelry, knickknacks, and papers. But if a parent is moving into an assisted living facility, these items can be difficult to handle. So it’s not just about deciding what to keep and what to toss; it’s also about gauging how attached your parents are to each item and understanding how it makes them feel.

Donate Meaningful Items Before You Downsize

If you’re having a hard time parting with certain items, consider giving them to another family member or a friend. If those avenues don’t work out, check with local organizations that could put them to good use. For example, donate books to schools or hospitals and clothes to an organization that gives them away in low-income areas. In addition, give unused electronics to companies that refurbish old items and give them back to people in need.


As you can see, downsizing takes time and preparation. Helping your parents downsize will take extra time and patience, but by being well-prepared and following these tips, you’ll ensure that your parent’s wishes are carried out properly. With a little extra work before moving day, you can ensure that your parent is comfortable in their new surroundings for many years to come.