Dear Donna,

In a few months, my mom will move to an assisted living community. She has asked me to help her prepare for the move.

She is very sentimental, and it’s always been difficult for her to throw things away. I know she has to downsize, but I am unsure how to approach the topic. Can you give me a few tips on how to prepare a senior family member for assisted living?


Marlene from Saline, MI

Helping a Senior Loved One Prepare for Senior Living

Dear Marlene,

Preparing a senior family member for assisted living can be difficult, especially if they have lived in their home for a long time. They have had years to accumulate their belongings, and only months or weeks to sort through them.

For many, the hardest part of moving isn’t getting rid of things they don’t need. It’s dealing with the feelings attached to their belongings. Throwing things away can feel like getting rid of memories.

Helping a Senior Loved One Downsize Before Moving to Assisted Living

  1. Start early

When it comes to downsizing, one of the best things you can do is start early. Waiting until the last minute adds unnecessary stress to the process and makes the transition more difficult for everyone involved. By starting the process early, you will have enough time to help them sort through their belongings and reminisce about meaningful items. Your loved one will appreciate not feeling rushed during the process.

  1. Plan ahead

Planning is another way to make downsizing easier. Set some time aside to list and categorize everything you need to sort through. Once you have everything listed, decide on a deadline for each category. Make sure your time frame is realistic. It’s usually best to overestimate the amount of time it will take to finish sorting through each group of items. Doing this will help keep you on track to finish everything on time.

  1. Consult with a senior move manager

A senior move manager is a professional who specializes in helping seniors move. They can be a huge help when it comes to helping older loved ones downsize. They understand the physical and emotional challenges that often come with a senior move. Their training has prepared them to help in a way that leaves seniors feeling in control of what happens to their belongings.

Moving Can Be Difficult at Any Age

Moving from a house to an assisted living community requires a lot of change, which can be difficult at any age. Not only is your loved one leaving a place they’ve called home for a long time, but they are also moving to a new environment filled with all new people. Be empathetic of their situation and remind them of the exciting things to look forward to in their new community.

I hope this helps the move go smoothly.



Heritage Senior Communities

Heritage Senior Communities, including our Linden Square Assisted Living location, provides support to seniors and their families while transitioning to assisted living. Contact us today to learn how we can help.