THE EMOTIONAL EFFECTS OF DOWNSIZING

What image comes to mind when you think of the word “home?” The word “home” is defined as “a place where people live permanently, especially as a family or household.” I actually think that is a rather cold and indifferent definition myself, for home is so much more. Our physical home is rooted in several emotions: Feelings of safety and security, feelings of familiarity, together with a host of memories.


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If you are a senior selling your lifetime home, you may be overwhelmed by the fact that you are leaving your home. Among those are the factors which are causing you to move and the subsequent emotions that follow. Let’s take a look at both the factors and the emotions to see if we can help guide you towards coping throughout this major event in your life.

Factors That May Lead to Downsizing Your Home

  • Desire for Less Responsibility

The desire for less responsibility, in and of itself, seems like a choice. Nonetheless, the decision to downsize because you want less toil and trouble in your life can be associated with health and finances. Although, if you are fortunate enough to not have those as a monetary issue, your desire for less responsibility is a reasonable choice as you age and not without emotional barriers you have to cross.

  • Health Issues

If health issues are a factor in your decision to move, then you have an extra hurdle or more to overcome in addition to your emotional battle. Perhaps you are no longer capable of using the stairs that are in your home (outside or inside). You may no longer have the ability to clean a dwelling with a large square footage.

  • Finances

Among the most common issues that arise when a person ages is finances. With the ability to generate new and additional income no longer a viable option, you must now recreate a life that is more affordable and within your limited cash flow.

Emotions That May Accompany Downsizing Your Home

  • Sadness

As you progress through the process of moving your location, you are faced with the fact that your new home will not accommodate all of your belongings. This leads to you not only having to say goodbye to your neighbors and friends, but to the loss of possessions you had collected throughout your time in that home. With this comes the emotion of sadness. It is a common feeling when you know you won’t be able to get that part of your life back.

  • Grief/Depression

I would imagine that after sadness is when grief may set in. Grief comes when the realization of your loss becomes evident to you and is a natural response to that loss. Grief is a feeling of being stuck in the moment of loss of the object of your affection. It has often times been described as being frozen or in a marked lag in time.

Also know that it is alright for you to grieve and to give yourself some time to work through your loss. However, if you are not careful with grief, you may find yourself slipping into a depressed state. If you do find yourself there, perhaps it is time to talk to your family doctor about such feelings. Remember: excessive grief can lead to physical health issues as well.

  • Anxiety/Stress

Anxiety is an example of how sadness and grief can lead to issues with your physical health. The next step after anxiety is stress which can cause high blood pressure issues, cardiovascular disease, or even a stroke.

  • However, before you reach that point, try the following:

Try the following steps recommended steps from HelpGuide.Org [see https://www.helpguide.org/articles/grief/coping-with-grief-and-loss.htm]:

  1. Acknowledge your pain.

  2. Accept that grief can trigger many different and unexpected emotions.

  3. Understand that your grieving process will be unique to you.

  4. Seek out face-to-face support from people who care about you.

  5. Support yourself emotionally by taking care of yourself physically.

  6. Recognize the difference between grief and depression.


Call Missy Donaghy with Interiors for Seniors for a FREE consultation 321-279-3301.


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