July 15th is National Give Something Away Day. This is the ideal opportunity to start working with your parent to downsize their belongings and streamline their life. For an elderly adult, downsizing is a way to simplify their surroundings, reduce risks that clutter can make, and start the process of clearing out their belongings early so they have more control. As a family caregiver, the concept of downsizing may be intimidating, but taking it slowly can help make the experience beneficial and less stressful for both of you.
Use these tips to help start downsizing your parent’s belongings on National Give Something Away Day:
- Talk with your parent about the items they have already decided to pass on to members of the family. Make a record of these items if your parent does not have a will, and consider marking them in a subtle way, such as putting a piece of colored tape in an inconspicuous area of furniture.
- Encourage your senior to give a living legacy rather than waiting a for family members and friends to inherit items. By giving them these items now, your parents will be able to explain to the person that the significance of the item and why they gave it to them, and enjoy the reaction of the recipient, while also making the beneficial step of streamlining their own home
- Talk to your aging parents about the various charitable organizations in your area that could benefit from the items they have in they are home. Traditional organizations such as Goodwill and Salvation Army are always an option, but your parent may be more drawn to smaller organizations such as shelters. For example, women’s shelters always benefit from clothing, while animal shelters can use old blankets and towels
- Contact local organizations to find out if they are capable of picking up large donations such as furniture, appliances, unused cars, and more. Making getting these items out of the home simpler can make it easier for your parents to give them away
- When going through items, put those items your parent is willing to part with in a box and get it out of the home as quickly as possible. This is particularly important for those who may be dealing with a cognitive functioning decline and are likely to go back through the boxes to take the items out after organization.
Senior care can be a valuable addition to your aging parent’s life at a variety of stages. It is a common misconception that this type of care is only beneficial for those who are very elderly, or who are dealing with extensive limitations. While the personalized services of a senior home care services provider can be highly beneficial for those individuals, this type of care can also greatly enhance your senior’s life even if they are still largely independent, and only have some mild to moderate challenges.
A care provider can step in to help your parent deal with issues such as no longer being able to drive on their own, dealing with low vision or hearing loss, mobility difficulties, or even need for more social interaction. This allows your parent to live their highest quality of life now, and as they experience further changes and challenges in their later years.