Welcome back to our blog page for our Gainesville-area assisted living and our Gainesville memory care community. Most older adults know the day will come when it’s time to downsize. But no matter how realistic you are about the necessity of downsizing — or rightsizing, as it’s sometimes called — you probably also realize that the process will be an emotional one. To help you get through the transition without feeling overwhelmed, here are some suggestions for dealing with the emotions of downsizing:
Make Space for Your Feelings
Moving out of your home is stressful — and daunting. But it will be even more overwhelming if you don’t acknowledge the emotional toll the process can take. Give yourself time to pause and experience the emotions that come up. Cry if you feel like it. And allow time to reflect on any memories that arise as you sort through your belongings. Consider reaching out to friends and loved ones to reminisce or talk about some of the memories that are surfacing.
Just as you need to acknowledge your feelings of grief and nostalgia, it’s also important to keep in mind the good reasons you have for downsizing. Your next home may be smaller, but it will be better suited to your lifestyle and future needs. The vast majority of older adults who move to a senior living community like ours are happy they made the transition. Our dear residents have none of the responsibilities of homeownership but enjoy countless opportunities to make new friends, explore new activities and enjoy fresh adventures.
Create a Schedule
You’ll have a greater sense of control — and less anxiety — if you have a plan. Make a list of tasks you need to accomplish and then grab your calendar and start working out a plan of action. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time. It’s best to start months ahead of your move date to avoid the stress of having to rush through the project. As your plan takes shape, include goals for each day so you can keep the project moving forward. Also let friends and family know when you’ll be needing their help, so they can arrange to be available.
Begin with an Easy Task
It can be tempting to dive into the most challenging rooms first, but you’ll gain confidence and momentum if you start with an easy space like the laundry room or linen closet. As you progress, you’ll develop a system of sorting and packing, so you’ll be more prepared for the rooms that are filled with old memories or sentimental favorites.
Reward Yourself Frequently
Self-discipline is necessary and admirable, but when you’re tackling emotionally difficult tasks it’s important to be kind to yourself, too. Give yourself treats — a cup of tea or a phone call with a friend — after you’ve finished a particularly onerous duty. Invite friends and family to participate in the project. You’ll benefit from the companionship. Plus, sharing stories as you sort through belongings can help you process your feelings and remind you that you have support when you need it.
Limit Your Sorting Options to Yes or No (No Maybe)
As you consider which items to bring with you, give yourself only two options: yes or no. If you allow yourself to set items aside with a “maybe,” you’re only postponing the decision. To help you decide, ask yourself if the item is necessary or if it makes you happy. Your bowling trophies, for example, probably aren’t necessary, and they may stir feelings of nostalgia without making you joyful. In such cases, taking a photo can make it easier to rehome once-cherished items.
Keep Your Goals in Mind
In dealing with the emotions of downsizing, it can be helpful to remind yourself why you’re making this change. Downsizing your home is a way to right size your life. Here you’ll have the comforts of home, a community of new friends, and the services and amenities that support a flourishing lifestyle. Contact us to find out more about senior assisted living services and memory care services here at Manor Lake.