At some point during older adulthood, many seniors will come to a transition point in their lives related to their homes and items in their surrounding space. They may:
Have difficulty reaching for items on top shelves or in less accessible locations. Need to downsize to move into a smaller home or a senior community. Need to move in with a family member.
Professional Organizers can help with these changes by ensuring their senior's space is as safe as possible to reduce falls and injuries, by assisting with reducing clutter, and helping family members manage the normal emotions and concerns that accompany these life changes.
These transitions require that you evaluate every item in the home by determining whether each item is: Necessary and useful. Of sentimental value because it represents your memories, experiences, places you have visited, and times you have spent with family and friends. Simply an accumulation of items with no current usefulness or particular sentimental value.
Items in the first category need to be kept within easy reach to lessen the risk of injuries and making living spaces as safe as possible. Items in the second category need to be kept because they serve as reminders about different stages of your life and memorable events but possibly in less accessible places. Other items may be reminders of unpleasant events, which might better be discarded but making this decision may be difficult. Items in the third category may be gifted to a family member, sold, donated or discarded as appropriate.
Every senior and family situation is unique, especially when differentiating between items of sentimental value and items which are mere accumulations. Making these decisions and physically moving the items may be both mentally and physically exhausting. Family members may be of help, but the physical and emotional drain can be substantial on them. This can be especially true when families have other responsibilities and challenges with their own children, work, health, community and other responsibilities. Bringing in an experienced Professional Organizer will help guide you and your senior through the process by asking key questions, and physically moving items will make the job go faster. This process can make life much easier for everyone, and permit family members to enjoy each others time together, rather than sorting and moving objects. This article was written by Margarita Cossuto, PhD a professional organizer and owner of Living Organized, LLC. Margarita works with a variety of clients in the CT/NY area and can be reached at 203-451-7880 or www.lorganized.com. She would like to thank Dr. Ronald G. Shapiro for helpful comments.