Alivio Downsizing

How To Take Care of An Aging Parent’s Home When Downsizing

For many, there will come a point in time when a decision will need to be made with or on behalf of an aging parent. How to take care of your aging parent’s home when downsizing is just as important as the downsizing process itself.  Whether the parent(s) will be moving in with a family member or downsizing into a smaller abode, the following will discuss a few of the key points to consider.

Understand the Emotions Involved

Even if the act of downsizing may not happen for some time, bring up the topic of downsizing sooner than later if it has not already been broached.  It is best to at least have an idea of a person’s wishes when the time comes, if not a full-fledged plan.

While it can sometimes be out of our control, ideally, it is better to not suddenly spring the idea of downsizing on a person.  It’s a situation that deserves to be mentioned with respect and patience.  When the time comes to have the conversation, more likely than not, it will be an emotional experience.  Not only for the parent(s) but for everyone involved- yourself included.  Be prepared to be met with emotions you least expect.

Take this into account and be ready to have a support system in case anyone needs it.  Support systems come in many shapes and sizes but they may come in the form of a friend, a mentor, a professional, or another family member.

Schedule Realistic Goals

It can be easy to get energized by motivation at the beginning of the downsizing process.  It is just as easy to become overwhelmed and oftentimes, this happens much quicker than expected.  For this reason, it is recommended to sit down and assess the situation.

With a day planner or calendar in hand, look at the important dates first (moving day, auction end day, etc) and take into account other important engagements that already exist.  Depending on the timeline, some of these engagements may need to be rescheduled.  If this is impossible, it will take a bit more organization and time management to work around these events.

With this in mind, it is important to be realistic when it comes to how much can be done in a certain amount of time.  Accept when help is offered and know when to ask for help.   We all wish to be superheroes but even superheroes need aid sometimes!

Assess What Needs to Be Done

It is important to visit the home and take a look at what needs doing with your own eyes.  If possible, go through the home room by room, being sure to take notes as you go.  It is best to look at the situation as a whole, and then divide it into manageable tasks.

For example, while the master bedroom or basement may be an area of focus, section the rooms into smaller tasks. These smaller tasks can be taken care of first in order to make the process of handling the larger items a bit easier.

To demonstrate, perhaps the bed will need to be disassembled but it is surrounded by other items such as clothing or night tables.  Remove/take care of the night tables and clothing first, and then there will be ample space to handle the bed.

Some of the main categories of tasks may be based on:

  1. How much space will the new living area offer?  And, how will this affect what items can move with them?  Which items will not fit into their new space?
  2. What needs safekeeping.?
  3. What can be passed on to family/friends?
  4. Can anything be sold?
  5. Which items can be donated?

Use a system to keep each of these categories separate.  Whether it involves placing select items in specific areas according to the category or a color code system, the goal is to use whichever method works well for you.

Health-Related Matters

One of the first items that should be tended to are the matters concerning important medications and/or health devices.  Depending on where they are moving, this may include:

  1. Transferring files from one pharmacy to another,
  2. Ensuring they will have access to the proper medications before, during and after the move- regardless of what may arise during the downsizing process
  3. Have a plan for emergency situations throughout downsizing: learn about the new area, have emergency contacts listed, know the closest hospital, etc.

At the very least, keep their main health provider in the know of their plans to downsize.  They know the medical history of their patients best and will be able to assess the proper course of action.  They may even be able to offer more help when it comes to ensuring a safe and healthy downsizing experience.

Important Documents

One of the most anxiety-inducing thoughts for anyone going through downsizing is. “What if we misplace (or even worse, dispose of) document X, Y, or Z?”.  Whether these documents concern banking information, or healthcare, or are simply personal and private – the thought of possibly losing these documents can often halt the downsizing process altogether.

For this reason, we highly advise using a clearly-labeled storage container or chest to keep these documents safe.  Keep this container away from the rest of the items needing to be sorted, or temporarily store them at the home of someone you trust if the new home is not yet prepared for move-in.  This way, these documents will be kept secure and there will be no need to constantly worry as the downsizing progresses.


Don’t forget to take a look at the refrigerator and pantry!  Undoubtedly, it is important to stay hydrated and well-fed throughout the downsizing process.  However, no one wants food to go to waste or have to worry about how to transport perishable foods when moving day arrives.  This is even more important if the new living arrangement will not have the same amount of space available for food storage.

Try your best to eat what remains and to only go shopping for essentials when necessary.  This is a good time to be open to trying new recipes- some impressive recipes have been created by those going through the moving process!  With this being said, don’t allow a diet to go by the wayside.  Certain foods are recommended for the sake of a person’s health and if some of the food that remains is not diet-friendly, pass these ingredients on to others.

If it is impossible to use all of the food before moving, some food may be transported with the help of a cooler.  Or, some food can be offered to friends, family, neighbors, or a local food bank.  Try your best to not simply throw everything into the garbage- this should be the last resort.


When preparing the items for the move, it is best to have a plan for both the packing and the unpacking stages.  For example, some boxes should be labeled with “Open First” or with a number.  This way, when it comes time to unpack, you will know which boxes have the highest priority.

A prime example would be how it is important to have access to medications.  The label box containing these items along with other important medical supplies should be labeled with a “1”.  Box #2 may contain the clothes they need to have access to for the first few days.  The rest of the clothes can be placed in the subsequent boxes.  Number each box used, assigning boxes containing similar content with the same number.

As the number increases, the less urgent it is to take care of its contents when it is time to unpack.  Or, you can assign the number depending on which room/part of the house the contents should be placed in.  Either way, having a system will be beneficial.


Moving can be a stressful life event, regardless of a person’s age!  Luckily, Alivio Solution is a member of The National Association of Senior & Specialty Move Managers®.  This means we are trusted to offer reliable and efficient moving services.

We can help tackle each of the aforementioned parts of downsizing.  For example, we partner with MaxSold and other selling platforms to get each client the best market price for the furniture and effects that aren’t moving into their new space.

For the items that can’t be sold, we reappropriate them to charities in the Greater Toronto area.  We understand how sentimental some items can be!  We only wish to ensure the safety of such items and to give them to those who need them the most.

Help Is Encouraged

Taking care of an aging parent’s home can be taxing in more ways than one.  While beginning the process can undoubtedly be difficult, once there is a plan in place and the right tools/aid are acquired, it all comes down to taking care of one thing at a time.

However, if it becomes much harder than you anticipated, there is absolutely no shame in asking for help.  In fact, in order to be sure that it is done safely and properly the first time, asking for help is advised!

If you are in need of aid with downsizing or estate clearing, Alivio Solution Downsizing is here to help.  We customize our packages to accommodate your specific needs.  Contact us today for a free consultation where we will discuss how we can facilitate the process of downsizing.  Phone or email us at (437) 329-6873 or for more information.