KYW Regional Affairs Council

“Downsizing Your

Senior Life”


By Lynne Adkins

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Every day, ten thousand Americans celebrate their 65th birthday, according to government statistics.  And as they age, so do their parents — many still living in the family’s four-bedroom Colonial.

So, when is the right time to get your elderly parents to downsize their lives and prepare for a new way of living?

Michael Calvin (below right) tried to get his parents to downsize a long time ago.

“That’s one of the hardest things in moving your parents: you have to realize it is their lives and their decision,” he says, “and even if they’re not making what you think is the right decision you need to work with them to help them make the decision for themselves.”

(Diane and Michael Calvin, members of the baby-boom generation whose parents were facing life-changing issues. Credit: Lynne Adkins)

When David Goldenberg’s health became an issue, he knew it was time to give up his apartment, to be closer to his son.

“Comes that day when you can’t do what you always did,” Goldenberg (top photo) recalls, noting that sometimes one lifestyle change leads to another.  “I’ve given up my car and given it to my granddaughter who’s learning to drive,” he says.

When looking for the next place to live, families need to ask a lot of questions about the care, the food, the cost, and the services provided.

Diane Calvin wanted to make sure her parents could stay in one facility for years to come, regardless of their circumstances:

“I was looking for all levels of care because I didn’t want them to have to move (again).  I thought it could be traumatic for them to have to move (again) because some places don’t offer the skilled care or the memory care.  My dad handled most of the finances (of selecting an affordable facility) because he’s a finance guy.”

She urges adult children to investigate facilities even if the parents aren’t ready to move, so if an emergency arises that  forces the issue, the family won’t be left scrambling.


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