Scaling Down

LIVING LARGER in a smaller space, by Judi Culbertson and Marj Decker

Whether you’re a do-it-yourself mover or you use the services of a Senior Move Manager, you’ll find lots of helpful tips, not only on downsizing, but also how to develop strategies to keep your home de-cluttered.

Culbertson and Decker suggest that there are 21 general apprehensions about the Fear of Scaling Down and they share their stories and ideas to help you deal with these concerns.

Can you find yourself in this list?

Fears of Scaling Down

From "Can You Find Yourself on This List?" Chapter 2, Scaling Down

  • I'll make a mistake and get rid of things I might need later on.
  • I won’t be accepted by people if I scaled down too drastically.
  • It will be too painful to revisit certain parts of my life.
  • I’ll get started and won’t be able to follow through. I’ve begun so many other projects and abandoned them that I’m afraid the same thing will happen here.
  • When I look at my surroundings and think about scaling down, there is so much stuff that I feel paralyzed. The idea of making decisions about everything is exhausting.
  • I won’t be able to “let go” Even though I think I can, when I actually start, it will be too hard.
  • I’m happy just as I am. Why do I have to change?
  • I’m not giving up all my stuff as long as he/she holds on tho his/hers.
  • I have too many ------, but I have no clear favourites. Everything is “good enough,” but nothing stands out.
  • My things are part of me.
  • I feel like I’ll be throwing away my history.
  • It seems disrespectful to get rid of any of my grandparents’/parents/things.
  • A lot of stuff belongs to my adult children who don’t have room to take the things. I can’t just throw them away.
  • My things are an outward expression of who I am.
  • Nobody wants my things and I’m not just going to throw then I the trash!
  • The old-fashioned virtue of “Waste not, want not” was instilled in me. How can I get rid of things that have no resale value but are still perfectly good”?
  • Some things are just too charming to give away.
  • I’m afraid if I cut way down, I won’t have the freedom of choice I do now---what to wear, read, eat, watch on video.
  • It may sound silly, but I need to leave some physical evidence behind that I’ve been here.
  • I’m so busy that I don’t have time to stay home and scale down. Sure I’d like to get things sorted out, but isn’t it better to have a life?
  • I hate making decisions. Period

Rightsizing Your Life

Simplifying Your Surroundings While Keeping What Matters Most, by C.J. Ware

As CJ Ware states, “rightsizing has more to do with the right of the equation than the size.” The light goes on for boomers and seniors who realize that more is not better. Making the decision to simplify your life means choosing only the people, possessions and activities you really love.

Check the “Ten Reasons We’re Prisoners of our Possessions”

Ten Reasons We’re Prisoners of our Possessions

Chapter 6, Rightsizing Your Life

  • Can you identify with any of these statements, which complete the following: I don’t want to give up this item because__________________
  • I might need it someday.
  • I feel guilty getting rid of it since (it’s a gift; belonged to a relative it’s brand new; hand made might be valuable someday; I’ll hurt someone’s feelings if I trash it).
  • I paid a lot of money for it.
  • I just need to fix it.
  • I don’t know where to take it to get rid of it.
  • I promised to take care of it forever.
  • I can use it for parts.
  • I just need a few more pieces to make it a set.
  • I am identified bay everyone for collecting it.
  • I’ll lose a part of myself if I get rid of it.

The Eldercare Handbook

Difficult Choices, Compassionate Solutions, by Stella Mora Henry, R.N.

As adult children of aging parents, we all head into uncharted territory, for which most of us are unprepared. While we want to be advocates and champions for our parents, the emotional, social, financial and health-care issues cause us a great deal of uncertainty. Long-term care expert, Stella Mora Henry, provides a guide to help work through these issues in a caring compassionate way.

What to look for in Assisted Living Facilities

Chapter 13, The Eldercare Handbook

  • Do the residents have the same level of abilities or disabilities that your family member has? Which facility would be best for your parent?
  • Does the facility have a homelike environment? Would you be comfortable visiting?
  • Will the facility offer a measure of privacy and independence for your parent?
  • Is there a smoking policy?
  • Are activities in places that are accessible if your parent uses a walker?
  • Watch residents. Are they enjoying themselves? Are they socializing? Is there interaction between the activities director and the residents?
  • Is the facility too large or small for your parent? Your parent may have a preference.
  • Is there an emergency call cord by the bedside and in the bathroom?
  • Does the staff greet or acknowledge you as you walk by?
  • Look at staff-resident interaction; does the staff treat residents with respect?
  • Is there an unpleasant odor? That could be a red flag that there are housekeeping and personal care problems.
  • Does the food look appetizing? Do residents seem to enjoy their meals? Would you be allowed to sample a meal?
  • Does the facility have a van to transport your parent to shopping, the theatre, or to the doctor’s office?
  • Is the facility licensed? Who monitors it?
  • Who is responsible for the health care of your parent during a medical emergency.?

Let’s Talk The Care-Years

Taking Care of Our Parents/Planning for Ourselves, by Patty Randall

Canadian expert on long-term care, Patty Randall, offers an informative and comprehensive guide for adult children who are involved in care giving for their parents and for seniors themselves who are proactively planning their future care years. This step-by-step guide is filled with practical and supportive advice that will allow families and seniors to stay ahead of the care-years’ curve.

There are plenty of opportunities to add quality and love to care home living? Here are some simple tips.

What can I do to add quality and love to care home living

  • Telephone – afternoons are good chat times. Establish a routine.
  • Plan for private time together – at a meal, or a drive, or room visit
  • If you live out-of-town, write a card, letter, email at least once/month
  • Schedule weekly outings – set a firm schedule. If you or other family members cannot participate regularly, hire a caregiver’s companion
  • Make plans to celebrate and recognize special days – there is heightened awareness of special calendar occasions
  • Go to restaurants often – meals are important!
  • Make your parent’s room personal and cozy – individual and familiar treasures like family photos, comforters, plants, treats
  • Drop in to the administrator’s office to say hello
  • Be prompt for important appointments
  • Make sure there’s some spending money in a designated spot
  • Treat the care home staff well – share stories of your parent, thank them
  • Become familiar with the care home – take part in some of the activities
  • Advise a staff member when you’re leaving to avoid emotional upsets
  • Post reminders or a calendar to keep all family members up to date
  • Make regular visits to the other parent if they are still at home
  • Continue familiar activities and routines

The Parent Care Conversation

6 SRATEGIES for dealing with the emotional and financial challenges of aging parents, by Dan Taylor

In a series of 6 vital conversations between adult children and parents, Dan Taylor provides advice and illustrative stories that teach families how to work together as a team to create strategic and supportive plans to parent care issues. The time to talk is NOW. If you don’t know where or how to start, let Dan Taylor be your guide to:

  • The Big Picture Conversation
  • The Money Conversation
  • The Property Conversation
  • The House Conversation
  • The Professional Care Conversation
  • The Legacy Conversation

As Taylor says, “No matter how many excuses you make, responsibility and accountability will one day be thrust upon you anyway. You might as well act now.” (p. 35, The Parent Care Conversation)

See the Nine Common Excuses for Doing Nothing

  • My parents have money, property, and papers scattered everywhere…
  • My parents say they’ve already worked things out….
  • My parents are very private…
  • My parents and I have never been close…
  • I don’t have any siblings and I can’t do this by myself…
  • My family is very close knit…
  • I have my own life and my own responsibilities…
  • I can’t deal with the hurt and pain…
  • I have never been good with money. I wouldn’t want to be responsible…