TEN WAYS TO HELP YOUR PARENTS DOWNSIZE THEIR LIVING ARRANGEMENTS
The Task of downsizing can be daunting. It most often can be an adult child’s largest challenge. Frequently, downsizing occurs as a result of a crisis in the life of your loved one. This leaves them feeling out of control and important decisions are often made too quickly by their family.
A home is often the most valuable asset a person has. Assessing the overall situation prior to a crisis can significantly reduce the stress of an impending move.
1. Identify appropriate housing and realize that there may be a long waiting list at many facilities. It is generally best if you can plan to market the home after your parent has relocated and the house is vacant.
Talk about showings and what happens when a house is shown.
Easier to show when vacant less clutter.
2. Arrange for professional services. A real estate agent can assist you in identifying a market value for the home and can give you advice on how to prepare the home for sale, even if it’s month’s prior to placing it on the market. He or she should also be able to give you local references for trash removal, estate specialists, cleaners, movers, lawn maintenance, etc.
Talk about how it is important to interview 3 agents. May be difficult to find someone who specializes but ask what kind of experience they have with elderly people. These sales tend to be more work because of the number of different people involved.
3. Help sort. Be sensitive to the fact that seniors tend to keep things they don’t need. Ask them if they don’t use an item if they would mind if you donated it or gave it to a grand child or sibling as a keepsake.
Don’t treat them like children!
4. Take pictures of the inside of their home. Keep in mind that the place they are moving will be much smaller and sometimes very few personal items can be taken. Try to photograph how the significant items in their home are situated so that you can place them in a similar way in their new residence.
Create a photo album for them to take with them full of family memories.
5. Start small. Take a day to talk with your parents about the move and what to expect. Give them small tasks to do and keep them involved.
15 minutes at a time. Be patient.
6. Pick a room to start that has less sentimental value such as a bathroom or a kitchen. This will set the tone for the rest of the moving experience.
7. Plan the move – When possible allow enough time so that your parents don’t feel rushed. Give them time to absorb the change. Visit the new facility a few times so that they become familiar with their new surroundings.
If a Realtor is involved at this point it may be stressful for a parent to hear a stranger talking about their home. Keep visits minimal talk to the agent about the situation.
8. Hire help – There are senior moving specialists who will assist in the entire moving process, including helping to organize, clean, coordinate the move and prepare the home for sale. Many times it is easier for parents to work with an outside party as they may feel conflicted or burdensome on their adult children who need to take time off from work or their family. Often family members are scattered throughout the country and the burden is placed on a single family member. This can cause dissension within the entire family, making the task of downsizing even more stressful.
Talk about staging vacant properties.
9. Speak with an attorney to get advice regarding placing the home in a trust, getting a power of attorney and other essential issues regarding the legalities of your parents estate and transfer of title.
Get a recommendation for Real Estate agent not advice!
10. Start early, take this advice and downsize when you no longer need the space anymore. Avoid future conflict and plan ahead in your 50’s and 60’s. Don’t hold onto your childrens items if possible.