A client getting ready to move from her home into independent living in a senior community recently asked us for a list of the kitchen items she should plan to take with her when she moves.
Independent living has kitchens though some are small “mini” kitchens and some are larger than the ones in many homes.
Regardless of the kitchen size, any kind of downsizing should involve a realistic view of your life. Are you still making layer cakes or homemade waffles? Most senior communities provide at least two meals a day. In fact, food is such a central part of senior living, communities poach top chefs from top rated restaurants (and from each other).
We moved a client who’d gone to culinary school and loved cooking. Now, at 80, she’s over cooking and left most of her kitchenware behind.
Not only should you consider what you enjoy but also consider how and whether you will entertain. Are you going to be hosting large dinner parties? If not, do you need a set of 12 dishes? Are there are dishes you’ve saved for special occasions? Why not use those? They are meant to be enjoyed. Even if they aren't dishwasher safe, how often will you need to run a dishwasher. Of course, be aware if you heat food in a microwave.
It might mean more to know a loved one is enjoying those dishes but if they aren’t wanted, try not to take it personally. It’s not a reflection of you but rather a reflection on the minimalist (and disposable) society we are living in today. Whether you decide to keep a partial set for yourself or decide to sell the whole collection, Replacement, Ltd. is a great place to buy or sell pieces.
When making kitchen decisions also take into account your physical health. If you have arthritis, consider stocking your kitchen with items made for arthritic hands. Attached is a good guide for arthritic appropriate gadgets.
If reaching is difficult, which is common problem for people as they age, focus on what will go into lower cabinets. If an item will be difficult to access, will you really use it or need it?
After taking your lifestyle and health into consideration, you can use this as a general guide for stocking any kitchen.
As I write this blog, I am actually away with my senior daughter for her college interviews. It occurs to me preparing for life in a senior community is much like life in a dorm. As I get closer to helping my daughter leave home and set up her own “place”, I will likely write more on this. For now, I thought it might be helpful to have this checklist for dorm living since there are many similar items and needs.
Jami Shapiro is President of Silver Linings Transitions. As a cancer survivor, she embraces aging and the challenges it presents.