Around this time of year, it’s not uncommon to discover that elder loved ones need to reconsider their living situations — whether to reduce clutter for decreasing fall risks, overcome years of hoarding, or to move and downsize based on increased senior care needs. Your organization can help guide older adults and their loved ones through the various aspects of this process — from how to make the difficult downsizing decisions in the first place and assisting with the practicalities of these changes, to optimizing the move and adjustment. Senior Couple Moving

Content Tips for Any Senior Care Company

  • Help family caregivers and older adults identify signs that it’s time to downsize or consider a move. Give them reasons it’s important to periodically assess the elder’s living space (such as fall risks, mold and dust, maintenance, and even clues that the elder needs more care help, such as piles of old newspapers and years-old food in the freezer). Make your content practical too: include checklists and tips for taking proactive, position action. You could even enter the conversation by creating a list of the best local places to donate used goods — to make room for all the wonderful holiday gifts from family and friends this year.
  • Interview a senior location specialist or senior move manager — such as those working with Caring Transitions — and include their expert insights and tips in your coverage this month.
  • Consider tackling a single aspect of downsizing or relocating — such as helping the senior figure out what to do with the 30+ years of family photos, or how to use sites like eBay or mobile apps like Trove or Close5, to turn old junk into cash. This approach can help the family caregiver or older adult ease into what seems an enormous project — like downsizing from a 4-bedroom house lived in for 50+ years to a 1-bedroom independent living apartment. It could even be that you start with the psychological aspects of downsizing first — such as the tips covered in the book, Stuffology 101 by Brenda Avadian of The Caregiver’s Voice and Eric Riddle.

Content Tips for Senior Living Communities

  • Do any of your residents have stories they’re willing to share publicly about how they successfully downsized to move into your community? Consider interviewing residents to gather their tips and stories for your content on this topic — after all, who better an expert than someone who has successfully downsized and now loves their new digs? With their participation, you also could mask their real identities by using first names only or pseudonyms. The point is to help other seniors like them see that it’s not only possible but can bring many benefits and joys too.
  • Does your community have any special attributes that help seniors to not only keep but showcase some of their treasures, such as a special photo wall or unique memento display cases? Consider blogging about that feature and how it helps seniors in the downsizing process without losing their keepsakes. Or maybe host an activity where you show senior residents how to take old photos from boxes of old albums and turn those into digital files they store (in a safe, easy to access place) online instead, such as Flickr, Dropbox, or Shutterfly.

Content Tips for Home Care Agencies

  • Can your in-home caregivers assist an elder client with the downsizing or relocation process? If so, include some details about those services you offer in your coverage of this topic. Gather some tips from your staff who’ve done this with clients previously. What worked best or what would they suggest others do to optimize downsizing or relocation (any tips they’d share)? Did they learn anything from helping an elder downsize that could be helpful to the family members of other seniors? Your in-house experts may be the best of all!

Caring Resources to Support this Spark

Additional Resources to Support this Spark

  • STUFFology 101: A website, book, and blog with fun & flexile approaches to get your mind out of the clutter

Content Sparks are part of Caring.com’s Content Made Simple program. See all of the December 2016 Content Sparks.

Denise Graab

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