Article courtesy of Michael Longsdon at

Most seniors find downsizing an overwhelming experience. It isn’t always easy to search for the right home for your needs, as well as deciding what to take with you. A smaller home presents space and storage issues that require selecting the most important items to bring along and letting other items go. With careful planning and the right new home, you can easily adjust to your surroundings and feel safe at home.

Develop a Decluttering Plan

When it comes to decluttering before the big move, it is impossible to tackle your entire house in one day. Plan to spend no more than three hours at a time going through items in one room. When you finish sorting one room, move on to another room.

Try not to get sidetracked by a hallway closet or items in a basement. Stay focused and allow yourself breaks. Downsizing is a stressful and often emotional experience. Taking a walk outside in the fresh air can clear your mind before you start clearing yet another drawer.

Search for Your New Home

House hunting can feel overwhelming, but you can make the process easier by thinking about your health needs. For example, it’s a good idea to choose a single-story home, so that you don’t face mobility challenges with stairs. If the home isn’t readily accessible to you, depending on how much it will cost, you can always make the necessary modifications later.

In addition to choosing the right home, choosing the right location is equally important. Close proximity to family and go-to medical facilities are important for most seniors. According to the National Endowment for the Arts, on-going community-based arts programs are beneficial for seniors and can lead to an improved quality of life.

Make a Smooth Transition

Moving is one of the most stressful events of your life. Whether you’ve moved once or more than once, a move is a goodbye to the familiar as you advance into the unknown. To reduce your anxiety, keep your eye on the prize of your new home and the convenience it brings to your life. Create a timeline of to-dos that you can easily follow and keep track of. Ask friends and family to assist you throughout the process, or hire a moving company. Once you select your new home and downsize your belongings from your former home, you can transition knowing you made the right decisions.

Modify the Kitchen and Bathroom

No matter where you decide to live, a kitchen modified to your needs is crucial. It’s one of two rooms that will most likely need to be remodeled. Mobility within the kitchen space is an important consideration. The three most used items in the kitchen are the oven, the sink, and the refrigerator. Keeping this “work triangle” in close proximity to one another makes the kitchen handier for seniors. There’s less ground to cover, resulting in more energy for cooking. When planning out your remodeling, it’s important to note that the timeframe can vary between 3 and 6 months.

When it comes to the other room that most likely needs modifications—the bathroom—a slippery floor is a real hazard for a potential fall. Water from the sink, shower, or tub can leave just enough of a puddle to cause injury. Non-slip grips on the tub floor and grab bars on the wall are good safety measures (a contractor will usually charge $200 to add grab bars); however, a lot depends on the mobility and agility of the senior. In terms of costs, keep in mind that remodeling a bathroom in Brooklyn runs between $7,695 and $15,730. The end result is a safer, more senior-friendly bathroom that gives you and your loved one peace-of-mind regarding their safety.

There’s No Place Like Home, Even a New One

Downsizing and relocating to a smaller home isn’t easy, but it is possible. Just take it one step at a time, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s never too early to start planning for your future in the golden years.

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