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From the Community Press

Right-Sizing Your Life: Downsizing for Seniors

Spring had arrived in New Mexico. As the fragrant high desert air breezed through the trees, Margie took a walk through her large yard and realized that maintaining it all by herself was becoming a challenge as she entered her retirement years. On her 70th birthday, she and her sons had discussed the situation and since then, she had consulted realtors, visited properties, and daydreamed about a smaller place. It was one of her good friends who informed her about a senior-friendly Life Plan community, which intrigued her.

While 55 plus communities are common, Life Plan retirement communities offering various levels of care for seniors are especially appealing to individuals like Margie, who appreciate the option of assisted living or memory care in the future. Although many seniors have close friends and family who could care for them should they require more assistance in the future, having the option of professional caregivers can give them a dignified option. A new home in a retirement community could be ideal for seniors like Margie. Cozy and manageable, an ideal sized home in a Life Plan community such as Albuquerque’s La Vida Llena provides seniors with opportunities for socializing and staying active. However, Margie still had to face the challenge of downsizing – the perfect spring cleaning project.

Seniors often accumulate numerous belongings over the years, making downsizing seem like a daunting task. Whether you plan on moving to a smaller home or simply want to declutter, there are many ways to simplify the process. Here are some helpful tips to get started.

Creating goals

It is important to establish your objectives before beginning the downsizing process. If you are relocating to a new residence, start by calculating the square footage and creating a plan for one room at a time. Some senior communities offer planning tools to assist you in determining how your furniture will fit into each space. Alternatively, if you are currently residing in your dream home, reflect on what you wish to achieve. Maybe you desire a more spacious atmosphere in each room or to finally sort through some boxes that you have kept hidden away.

Make a plan. Attempting to navigate everything at once can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s a good idea to start with one specific space or room and progress through it before proceeding to other areas. Label objects that you intend to sell or donate, as well as those that you wish to retain.

Know your options. It can be challenging to determine which items to let go of in the moment, but there’s a possibility that you won’t have to make that decision immediately. You have options to consider. For example, you could choose to rent a temporary storage unit to hold some of your possessions until you can decide which ones you want to keep and which ones will fit into your new living space. Several storage facilities in New Mexico even offer temperature control, ensuring your belongings are safe from harm. Alternatively, you might consider giving sentimental items to your loved ones or close friends, allowing you to continue to enjoy them for years to come whenever you visit.

Ask for assistance. If you have friends or family in the vicinity, plan a Saturday afternoon together to pack up your belongings, move boxes, and organize your items. If you need a second opinion on whether or not to keep something, a trusted friend can offer their advice. Gathering with loved ones can be enjoyable. Consider ordering in lunch and serving refreshing beverages!

Downsizing can be an emotional and challenging task, particularly for seniors who have accumulated a lifetime of memories and possessions. Sorting through belongings and deciding what to keep, sell, or donate can be an arduous process. However, downsizing can also be liberating and offer opportunities for a fresh start. By streamlining possessions and simplifying living spaces, seniors can reduce their stress levels, lower their expenses, and free up time and energy to pursue new interests and experiences. With the right mindset and approach, downsizing can be a positive and rewarding experience. Enjoy some spring cleaning!

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