Everyone's family will face the time when they must sort through the belongings of senior family members or aging parents. This may be as a result of a move to assisted living, or upon the senior's passing. If the senior is still alive, the decisions are more difficult, whether the move is to a retirement community or a nursing home. In most cases, the new home is smaller, and thus, many of their possessions can't go with them.
The fourth core principle of sorting is to listen. Respectful listening, though it may seem like wasting time is one of the most important things you can do when helping a senior sort their belongings. Ask questions, make comments. They will love talking to you about their past. You can learn a great deal about the senior while sorting.
Sorting can be intense and draining both physically and emotionally. Attention span for most seniors is 2-3 hours. For some, it is shorter, so keep sessions brief. One and one half to two hours is sufficient, depending on needs. Encourage breaks and snacks. You can do other tasks in the meantime, like packing away what they will be moving.