Successfully Downsizing And Decluttering Aging Parents Homes

Couple helps parents downsize their home by packing valuables in boxes

All of us have had to move for one reason or another. From the college freshman who’s living away from home for the first time to the young adult in their first apartment to the couple about to become homeowners, moving is an integral part of our lives. While it can be an exciting experience in many ways, It’s also one of the most overwhelming experiences, too. 

Sorting, packing, unpacking, rearranging and acclimating to a new place. None of those moving activities are fun. In fact, they’re pretty stressful. However, if you think those things are no fun at your current age, imagine how much more difficult they will be when you’re a senior. 

When seniors have to downsize and relocate to a new home, all of that sorting, packing, unpacking and acclimating to a new environment aren’t just physically exhausting – they’re mentally and emotionally taxing, too. Seniors are just assessing and packing objects; they’re reflecting on a lifetime of memories and experiences. To them, the move doesn’t signify the start of a new beginning. To them, decluttering, downsizing and moving to a smaller home, apartment or their adult child’s home is the beginning of the end. 

If your elderly parents refuse to downsize and move into a more suitable residence, please understand that you’re not alone. This experience is quite common for most families. However, with equal parts patience, empathy and planning, you can help make this phase of your senior parents or relatives lives more pleasant for everyone. 

To help your senior loved ones successfully organize their belongings and relocate to their new residence simply follow these helpful steps.

Start Cleaning and Organizing Early

If your aging parents haven’t reached the point when they need to downsize, you can help them get a head start on the organizing process now – without having to approach the subject of moving in the near future. 

Help them with their spring or fall cleaning. Use this as an opportunity to help them take stock of their possessions. In the guise of everyday cleaning and sorting, they’ll often be more receptive to donating items they no longer need, shredding old paperwork and rearranging their layouts to be more organized, accommodating and less cluttered. 

Then when the time comes when they have to move and downsize, they’ll already be prepared for the experience.  

Make Seniors a Part of the Process

When adults try to help their aging parents or family members it often seems like a reversal of traditional roles. When the parent feels like the child it can be jarring and, in some cases, humiliating. 

If a senior, especially one that is still capable of living independently, feels like they are losing control and/or being forced into a situation by their adult children, they may feel anger and resentment. This is especially true when the subject of downsizing and moving to a new home comes up. If an aging parent believes a child is trying to make their own life easier by forcing them to move and part with their possessions, they may dig their heels in even further. 

To avoid this scenario, it’s best to include them in the downsizing process. Instead of cleaning, sorting, organizing and disposing of their belongings without their involvement, ask them to assist. Then, to make the situation less jarring, ask them to recall the stories associated with certain items as you pack them up for the move. This action makes the process feel more like a shared experience and less like an audit. 

Show Seniors Respect  

When you’re assisting your parents in their downsizing efforts, remember to keep their feelings in mind. What may seem like “stuff” to you, has value and meaning to them. Some items, even the smallest ones, may be high in sentimental value.

If they are having trouble parting with certain items, you can always suggest that they give these possessions to family members. Classifying these items as heirlooms can make parting with them much more manageable for your aging loved ones. It lets them know that their memories will remain with their families for years to come. 

Moving and downsizing is never easy at any age. It’s especially difficult for seniors. However, the experience can be less difficult for everyone when you carry out the tasks with empathy, encouragement and compassion. 

If your aging parents or family members have recently moved into a new residence and require home care, don’t feel you have to be the lone provider. Let the certified specialists at Keen Home Care lend a helpful hand. 
Contact us today to learn more about our home care services for your aging loved ones.

Responsibilities of Senior Caregivers

An adult senior caregiver sits on a couch next to their aging parent and uses a tablet to explain their current care plan to them.

As your parents and senior family members age, the roles that you both originally played will be reversed: the adult child is now responsible for the care of their aging loved one. 

If you’re approaching the period of your life when you will become a senior caregiver, you may be wondering what’s in store for you. What are your responsibilities? How can you help your parent or senior family member live independently longer – and more safely and securely? 

Below, we discuss some of the key responsibilities of senior caregivers to help you gain a deeper understanding of how you can best help your aging-in-place loved ones. 

Planning and Organizing

First and foremost, your chief responsibilities will involve a great deal of planning and organizing. Not only will you need to help your aging loved ones keep track of their medical appointments and monitor their medications, you’ll also need to help them prepare a care plan that outlines their specific care needs and establishes health goals.

In addition to these medical- and health-based needs, you’ll also need to assist with organizing and tracking your loved one’s income and expenses and monitoring their eating habits (to ensure that they’re adhering to their physician recommended healthy diet plan).   

Assisting with Mobility and Transportation

As they age, your senior family member may experience decreased mobility. Seniors who experience mobility issues are often at greater risk of falls and injury. As a caregiver, you may be required to help your aging loved ones with such things as getting in and out of bed, climbing stairs, or walking for an extended distance and/or duration.  

When seniors experience mobility difficulties and vision impairment, they may have to surrender their driver’s license. If this situation arises, you will have to provide transportation. Whether you transport them yourself or make arrangements with another family member or trusted friend, your services will be required to maintain their safety and ensure that they make all of their necessary appointments. 

Being a Companion

Above all else, senior caregivers must also be a companion to their aging parents and family members. Besides assuming the responsibilities listed above, your companionship and kindness will help your aging loved ones feel less lonely and help them fight off depression, anxiety and isolation. Being a good listener and good company will go a long way toward helping your loved ones age in place for longer.   

These are just a few of the many responsibilities you’ll assume as a senior caregiver. If these responsibilities seem overwhelming, please know that there is help for you and your loved ones. The expert team at Keen Home Care can help you provide first-rate in-home care for your aging-in-place family members. We’re committed to helping seniors continue to live their best lives and assisting Long Beach-area senior caregivers like you. 

Contact us today to learn more about our home care service options for seniors in the Long Beach community. 

Best Technology For Seniors

A senior using a tablet to improve memory care by playing a game of solitaire.

There was a time that technology, gadgets and gizmos were only aimed at kids and professionals. But in recent years, seniors have become more tech-savvy (in some cases, they may be even more proficient in technology than their adult children). This is great news as using technology helps keep seniors more engaged and active as they age in place. 

If your aging parent or loved one is living independently, and you’re looking for user-friendly technology to help them stay connected with family and friends, keep active and fit, promote memory care, and/or keep them safe, we’ve assembled this list of great tech ideas for seniors.

Communicating with Tech

Seniors who are aging in place independently can sometimes feel lonely and isolated. While their adult children are working and their grandchildren are at school, it’s easy for seniors to experience these feelings. Yet, technology can help them feel more connected to their family and friends without having to leave their homes. 

Using technology to have virtual chats is not only a great way for seniors to communicate with family and friends, it’s also fairly cost effective, too. Instead of investing in a high-cost computer set up, families can gift their seniors with low-cost user-friendly portable electronic devices such as modified tablets or laptops equipped with free video conferencing software or applications. 

In addition to seeing their family and friends during the calls, many of these video conferencing applications also feature captioning options that are extremely convenient for seniors who are hearing-impaired. 

Staying Fit and Active with Tech

While most seniors prefer living independently, they sometimes lack motivation when it comes to participating in many important activities. With no one there to prompt them, many seniors run the risk of not staying fit, active and/or following a healthy diet. If you can’t be there every day to give your aging family members the support they may need to stay engaged, don’t worry. There is plenty of great tech that can help. 

Although they are often associated with children and teenagers, there are several video game systems that can benefit seniors, too. Systems like the Wii Fit Plus have been embraced by senior living and assisted living communities to help keep residents active and fit. If your loved one’s primary care provider believes a gaming system can help them follow a regular fitness routine, then this tech may be a valuable addition to their household. 

Healthy eating can make a difference at any age. Yet, it is incredibly important for those who are 65+. If they’re living independently, with no oversight, your senior family members may be more inclined to take detours from their healthy eating plans. Luckily, there are many great applications available for smartphones and tablets that are designed to help seniors enjoy nutritious and healthy eating habits. 

In addition to eating healthy and exercising, seniors need to keep their minds active, too. Technology can help improve memory care, too. Seniors can download plenty of crossword puzzles, brain teasers, trivia and Sudoku applications to their tablets and smartphones. E-readers give seniors access to plenty of books, magazines and newspapers. Users can also adjust the font size if they need to read larger print. Best of all, most E-readers also feature access to audiobook libraries so seniors can listen to books while they’re staying active or if their vision is impaired. 

Tech to Stay Safe

One of the biggest worries for adult caretakers like you is to discover that your aging parent has gone missing. Investing in a wearable device with GPS tracking is a great way to ensure the safety of your loved one. This technology can help you and the authorities learn the location of your missing senior family member to help prevent and/or diminish injury or other emergency situations.  

While all of this technology is terrific, it’s even better when it’s supplemented by professional home care services like those offered by Keen Home Care. If you’re an adult caregiver interested in some extra help with your aging parent or family member, the experts at Keen Home Care are eager to help. Contact us today to learn more about our home care service options for aging parents and family members.