Downsizing is taxing on the body and can take an emotional toll on everyone involved. The emotions associated with this can be complicated if one of the seniors involved has Alzheimer’s.

Here are 4 tips that can help make the transition smoother for, not only the person with Alzheimer’s, but also for others who are involved in the process.

Take it Slow and Communicate Often.

Sometimes downsizing needs to be a rushed process, but when downsizing a person with Alzheimer’s, it is in everyone’s best interest to take the entire process as slowly as possible. Be prepared to discuss in a calm and consistent fashion with your loved one why the decision to downsize has been made, as well as what they can expect every step of the way. Make the person part of the process, communicate often, and help them feel in control of the situation. Downsizing should never be something that is happening to them, but with them.

Sorting, Discarding, Donating.

Those with Alzheimer’s tend to have a difficult time parting with items with which they feel connected. This can cause them to experience increased levels of anxiety and stress. If there are items the person rarely uses, it may be best for a small team of helpers to go into the home ahead of the planned downsizing and removing those items from the home. If the thought of donating or discarding a particular item is causing undue stress to the person with Alzheimer’s, be prepared to place that item in storage.

Make a Memory Album.

Taking photos or video of the items to donate, and then making a special memory album, is a great way to continue to embrace the meaning and value of these items. Involving the person with Alzheimer’s in this process can be a great distraction from the task at hand, keeping them calm and focused while the rest of the downsizing team does its job.

Something Old, Something New.

When transitioning the person with Alzheimer’s to their new living environment, it is best to do most of the unpacking prior to the move to avoid any anxiety they might experience. Try to place a few precious mementos from the old residence in their new living quarters to help calm and reassure the person during the moving-in stage. Seeing something familiar in their new surroundings can help the person with Alzheimer’s form a connection to their new space.

Bottom Line.

Even if all these tips are followed, it is still possible that the person with Alzheimer’s may have a difficult time adjusting. Be sure to consult their healthcare provider before the process, as well as afterwards, especially if the individual experiences increased episodes of anxiety, aggression, or depression.

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