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Moving the elderly into a retirement community easily with self storage

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March 27 2023

The best way for your parents to make this transition is for them to ease into it, and to know that the family history contained within the items in their house will not simply be tossed out because of this transition. They may need to move out of the house, but this does not mean that they have to let go of that history.

At Cubeit Portable Storage, we know how significant of a transition this is for your parents, which is why we've created the following advice on how to approach your parents about the change, and how best to make this as comfortable for them as possible.

Ease into a discussion

Talking to your parents about a move into a retirement community is the first, and possibly most difficult task of this process. Typically, your parents will be averse to such a move, so you need to pick a time wisely to bring it up in a more casual way – just to get the conversation started.

Take your time, and expect the conversation to be an ongoing one. Do not think you can have a quick 15-minute chat, and move them out a few weeks later – that's never going to happen. Rather, plan to have to visit and discuss with them this possibility multiple times. They will likely need to be properly convinced of this, so expect a number of discussions.

When discussing this, put yourself in their shoes as much as possible. The move is for their benefit, not yours, and you need to be able to articulate that. Listen carefully to their concerns, and let them come to the decisions on their own – you should be merely presenting the possibilities and why they need to be considered. Never tell your parents that they have to do something. They will arrive at the conclusion themselves.

During the discussions, spend less time on their needs (they, as you, do not want to hear that they need help), and more time talking about the benefits of living in the retirement community. Tell them how great it will be having someone cook and clean up for them, rather than telling them that they shouldn't be cooking for themselves anymore. Talk about how their expenses will decrease, allowing them to spend more on the things they would like to do. Focus on the benefits, rather than what they need or what they are not able to do in their home on their own anymore.

Investigate retirement communities

Get your parents excited for their new living conditions by going through brochures of retirement communities, investigating the living conditions and how incredible the amenities are. Spend time investigating as many communities as possible, taking note of the ones your parents seemed to gravitate towards.

Take a look at the surrounding area of some of their favourite facilities. Check out maps with them, highlighting some of the local places they will make good use of. Take them for a drive to visit the neighbourhood. Have lunch at a local café or restaurant. Let them see how great their life can be with such a move.

Ensure their history

While they will be averse to admitting that they could use some aid, their other great concern will be losing all of the sentimental items in their home. Moving into a retirement community means that downsizing is a must, but your job now needs to be ensuring them that downsizing does not mean losing the items that represent their history.

The answer here of course is to conserve as many of those items as possible. Help them go through them, discussing the history of various items while also making a list that divides the items into various categories: "For the Home," "For Storage," "To Sell/Donate," and "For Garbage." Allow your parents to make these decisions on their own, but do make them think them through properly, citing things like space in the new residence when keeping something does not make the most sense.

Your role in inheriting items here is important. Be ready to accept various items to keep for your parents (and suggest doing so for the most sentimental items you know will not work in their new space), as they will feel much more comfortable knowing certain things are going to you rather than to some stranger or to the garbage.

Approach this process with excitement and gratitude, rather than some burden you must bear, and your parents will feel more inclined to be excited themselves. Take your time, and don't force any decisions.

Plan their space

When your parents come to their decision on the retirement community, make some time to plan their space with them. Map their current set up on a sheet of paper, and then try to emulate that as much as possible, mapping their new living space on a separate sheet. They have lived in their current set up for some time, so attempting to duplicate this in their new space will make it easier for them to adjust to.

There's a good chance the spaces will be much different in size and shape, so of course you will be limited with what you can do with their furniture set up. Rather than spending too much time on that, be aware of the details of their current space: what artwork and photographs do they display? Where do they display them? Your goal should be to personalize their new space as much as possible, giving it a similar feel to their current space. You want to make their transition as comfortable for them as you can.

Self storage comfort

Downsizing does mean that your parents will have much less space in their new home, but keeping many of the items they have a sentimental attachment to will be important for the process. Self storage can provide the economical answer to adding space for them and calming their concern for lost history.

A portable self storage container can be a helpful aid during this process. Likely, the process will take some time, often over many months. A portable container can be dropped on your parents' property, and as you slowly make your way through their belongings, you can have the ease of time on your side filling a portable unit. Rather than needing to fill a truck with everything the day of the move, a portable container allows you to extend this process as long as you like.

Time is what you need for making as huge a decision as this, and that is precisely what a portable self storage container can provide, beyond your traditional self storage unit. At Cubeit Portable Storage, we have containers of various sizes, sure to suit your parents' needs. With the lists you created, you'll already be on your way to determining the size appropriate to the project. Speak with your Cubeit Portable Storage agent today for further advice.