We have said it before, and you will likely hear us say it many more times: downsizing is taxing on the body, mind and spirit. More than just the physical aspects of sorting, donating, discarding and packing, downsizing takes an emotional toll on everyone involved in the process. How To Downsize With Alzheimer’s In The Mix
The emotional stress of downsizing can be triggered by memories of the items you are sorting, attachment to a home where you may have raised a family and made many memories, and the echoes in the back of your mind whispering that change can be scary, even if you are otherwise looking forward to the next stage in your life.
All the emotions associated with the downsizing process can be complicated further if one of the seniors involved is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Persons with Alzheimer’s disease may already feel anxious or agitated, which can worsen if they are taken from a familiar environment and placed in a new one. So, when downsizing in this kind of situation, there are certain tips and tools that can make the transition smoother for not only the person with Alzheimer’s, but also for others who are involved in the process. Ho
Tip #1 – Take it Slow and Communicate Often
Sometimes downsizing needs to be a rushed process. Maybe one spouse is ill or has become unexpectedly disabled and the current living situation no longer is conducive to that person living a healthy and happy life. But when downsizing a person with Alzheimer’s, it is in everyone’s best interest to take the entire process as slowly as possible.
Just because a person has Alzheimer’s doesn’t mean they can’t have the process explained to them, so be prepared to discuss with your loved one why the decision to downsize has been made, as well as what they can expect every step of the way. Be prepared to explain the steps over and over again; while this may be frustrating for you, it is critical for the person with Alzheimer’s to be reminded of things in a calm and consistent fashion.
Be sure to make the person part of the process, communicating often and helping them to feel as if they are still in control of the situation. So much about living with Alzheimer’s can make the person feel like they have lost control of everything in their lives, which can lead to frustration, anxiety and even depression. Downsizing should never be something that is happening to them, but with them.
Tip #2 – Sorting, Discarding, Donating
It is never easy to part with our belongings, especially ones that are associated with fond memories of relationships with friends and family. While it’s normal to feel a strong attachment to our things, individuals with Alzheimer’s tend to have a more trying time parting with items with which they feel connected. Convincing someone with Alzheimer’s that they need to part with an item, when they are determined to keep it, can be a frustrating experience for all involved. It can cause the person with Alzheimer’s to experience increased levels of anxiety and stress, which will further impair their cognitive functioning.
If there are items that the person rarely uses, but has them in various locations throughout their current home, it may be best for a small team of downsizing helpers to go into the home ahead of the planned downsizing and removing those items from…
This article was sourced from seniornews.com.