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Senior Living Blog

Tips for You or Your Senior to Adjust to Retirement and Downsizing

Posted by Jan Wieder on Nov 3, 2021 8:00:00 AM

Downsizing can be an inevitable stop on the ride of life.  Though change can be scary, it doesn’t have to be painful and it doesn’t have to be negative.  Planning with good resources can make all the difference in the transition to a new phase of life.  Even though it may not seem like it at face value, this can truly be an exciting time and can bring new connections and opportunities!

At Village Green Retirement, we have walked this path with many seniors and their families.  We understand the nuances of this transitional time.  We also know how important it is to provide a rich environment that offers real value for our seniors so that connecting to our community feels natural and comfortable.  Daily opportunities for real fun and connection appear in our schedule of activities at Village Green retirement community in Federal Way, WA.


Tips and Tricks to Help You or Your Senior Adjust to Retirement or Downsizing


Planning to Downsize

We all know that the devil is in the details.  Thinking through the relevant steps of a downsizing process before the time comes saves stress and anxiety down the road.  As you look ahead to possible downsizing, consider the following factors:

1. Selecting Your New Space

The options are endless once the family home is no longer practical.  Condominiums, apartments, senior living and assisted living, the size of the space, and support needs are different for everyone, and needs can change at any age.  Here are some aspects to consider as you narrow down your new housing options:

  • What housekeeping activities need support?  (E.g. gardening, house cleaning, home maintenance, and repairs.)
  • What activities of daily living need support?  (E.g. food preparation, personal care, medication management, transportation, community, companionship.)
  • Is furniture provided? 
  • What is your budget?
  • What is the availability of your top locations?

2. What Comes With You?

Once you know where you’re headed, it’s easier to set up a system to decide what is and isn’t needed.  As you sort through the items that took years to accumulate, a strategy is vital.  This feels like a practical task, but this is only true to an extent.  Humans are emotional about objects, and understanding and expecting this natural response can help to honor it without letting it affect efficiency.  Here are some tips and tricks to sort through your possessions while downsizing:

  • Sort it out:  Make three piles, keep, donate, trash.  Some people also include a give-away pile that is different from the charity shop box or choose to have a garage sale if enough household items are being demoted from use.
  • Go room by room:  Don’t do it all in one go!  This is a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Expect a mess:  Understand that sorting through the detritus of a lifetime is messy!  A room looks like an absolute tornado during this process.  Don’t let this stress you out!  
  • Set volume goals: Aim to fill a certain number of boxes per sorting session.  Find a way to celebrate when you hit a goal. Take a walk, get ice cream, see a movie!
  • Get it out:  Make regular donation runs and send your trashed items to the curb.  Once you have decided to get rid of items, get rid of them as quickly as you can.

Transition Mindset

Transitions, even the happiest ones, like marriages or new additions to the family, are stressful.  Feeling nervous, reluctant, or resistant to change is completely understandable and should be respected.  However, a person can absolutely impact their quality of life by changing their focus.  Many people ultimately find that downsizing has changed their lives for the better.  Here are some tips and tricks to honor the complicated feelings that sometimes come with the reality of downsizing:

  • Take time to say goodbye. Take one last lap around your favorite haunts, leave a friendly note with updated contact information for the neighbors, have coffee in the sunny spot at the kitchen table.  
  • Keep in touch. Make plans to see neighborhood friends, family, and other community connections from before a few weeks after your move.  Get it on the schedule and stick to it!  
  • Find something to love about your new place. Find a new favorite chair, window view, or new amenity that feels like an upgrade, and enjoy it! 
  • Notice the needs that are now met in your new spot. What has now become easier?  Is it a relief to have menu planning off the table?  Do you enjoy watching someone else mow the lawn while you sip coffee or tea?
  • Connect with new people. Attend events and engage in activities that interest you in your new neighborhood.  Talking to others about common interests is a great way to make friends, no matter your age! 
  • Be realistic about your schedule. Some people need more in their social bucket and some need less and this is consistent across the lifespan.  Extraverted people need to be extra vigilant in having this need met at this time, and introverted people might be overwhelmed by a whole new whirlwind of options.

Senior Living Activities in Federal Way, WA

At Village Green, we are experts in supporting residents and families through the downsizing process.  We promote a wide array of activities that foster engagement for our residents in the domains of mental, physical, emotional, and other aspects of health and wellness because we know what a difference it can make. Contact us to learn about our different senior living residences, or to see our availability, and to set up a tour. 

Clinical Care Services offered at Village Green Retirement Community


Tags: Senior Health, Senior Living 101, Retirement Tips