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A guide to downsizing for Seniors – tips to make it easier

“It’s never too late for a new beginning in your life”

~ Joyce Meyer

The decision to leave the family home and move into something smaller, such as independent serviced apartments for seniors or into residential aged care is challenging for many, with the thought of having to physically move particularly overwhelming. Often, when it comes to the monumental task of sorting and selling the home the responsibility falls on family and friends. With this in mind, we thought we’d explore some tips and tricks for making the big move that little bit easier.

Start Early

If your loved one has mentioned downsizing or is experiencing health problems which make living alone less viable, it might be a good time to broach the topic of sorting and decluttering their home.

Start in the room that is least frequented and sort one room at a time.

Divide belongings into four categories:

1. Keep

2. Give to family

3. Donate

4. Discard

If a move is not imminent, only remove items in categories 2, 3 and 4 from your loved ones home, this will make packing up the home that much easier when the time comes to downsize.

To determine which items to keep, consider asking these questions:

  • Does this item hold any sentimental value?
  • Is it of significant financial value?
  • Will this fit into the smaller space?
  • Would a family member or friend appreciate the item or use it?
  • Are there several of the same item?
  • Is the item used regularly?

A Family affair

Going through old keepsakes and sentimental items can illicit an array of emotions and bring about memories of significant life events. Ensure your loved one is involved and feels in control of the process. Endeavour to make it a family affair by inviting all family members to assist and listen to stories of years gone by. Consider early gifting of sentimental items or family heirlooms for loved ones to enjoy.

For those special items your loved one wishes to hold on to, consider framing them in a keepsake frame which can then be hung on the wall in their new home.

Sell or Donate

Involve tech-savvy grandchildren by asking them to help sell items on online platforms such as Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace. Entice their inner entrepreneur by offering them a commission for each item that’s sold.

For items suitable to donate, there are many charities in desperate need of goods and will collect them free of charge. Starting Over is a local charity providing support and goods to families moving on from crisis. Good Sammy Enterprises will come collect your household items and No Limits Perth accepts all matter of things from food and clothes to larger items.

Decide on a new home

Consider a move that is right for your loved one and their circumstance or care needs. Take the time to understand the differences between retirement living vs assisted living vs residential aged care, and which option may be the right choice for your loved one.

The Queenslea in Claremont has both retirement apartments for seniors and residential aged care, whilst The Richardson in West Perth is a residential aged care home with unique features including curated gardens and an indoor heated swimming pool. The Queenslea includes an on-site child care centre where intergenerational activities are supervised, and both homes host award winning health and rehabilitation centres which deliver rejuvenation programmes for the elderly. Between the two locations, Oryx provides all levels of support to residents as required including on-site Registered Nurses 24/7.

Making a move later in life can be a very emotional time. The thought of moving to a new home and making new friends can evoke feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. That’s why Oryx has adopted the Small Household Model at both The Richardson and The Queenslea. Large bedroom suites are centred around a shared social hub which includes a dining room, kitchen and living area, embracing the concept that the heart of every family home is the kitchen. This unique approach to care means all our residents live in an intimate and friendly environment of around 10 to 14 neighbours, combined with close, continuous care at hand whenever you need it.

Utilising short term respite care is also a good way for your loved one to experience what life is like at one of Oryx homes, and to ease the transition. Respite care is Government funded on assessment, and during their stay they will enjoy a beautiful private bedroom and ensuite along with all the lifestyle amenities that our permanent residents have access to, as well as organised social activities to meet other residents, make new friends and keep them active and engaged.
Consider enlisting an aged care Placement Consultant to find a suitable home for your loved one. Aged care specific financial advisors are best placed to advise you and your loved one on affordability and the best financial option for their next move. Whilst a local real estate agent who is well-versed in your suburb will be best to discuss selling the family home (if this has been decided). is a helpful resource to determine what fees may be applicable for your loved one when moving in to residential aged care. Oryx has a dedicated Community Engagement and Accounts department who can help you navigate through the aged care process

Professional packers & movers

Once you and your loved one have decided on a new home and all items have been sorted, consider hiring professional packers and movers to do the heavy lifting. Local companies will carefully and efficiently pack and label items for you, removing the stress from this tedious task. Additionally, if there are items that cannot be transferred to your loved ones new home and that no one is prepared to let go of just yet, utilising a storage unit is an ideal solution.

Yes, moving a lifetime of belongings is no small task, but if you start early, take your time and revel in the memories, it can be a job that you and your loved one will recall with a happy heart.

Our team is here to help and support your next move. If you wish to speak to someone about your situation or that of a loved one, or would like to book a tour through The Richardson or The Queenslea, please don’t hesitate to contact us or book a tour online.