Your elderly parents still live in the house you grew up in. Due to their declining health it’s become apparent that mom and dad need to find a smaller place. But whenever you bring up the topic of downsizing, they quickly change the subject. What should you do?
Having “the downsizing talk” with aging parents is never easy. Here are some ways to ensure that the conversation is a more fruitful one.
What’s Your Motivation?
Before discussing the topic of downsizing with your parents, determine why you believe that it is in their best interests. Here are some valid reasons why it might be best for them to move into a smaller, more manageable home:
- Current home is cluttered and messy
- Maximize the equity that they’ve built up
- Maintenance challenges
- Trouble paying monthly bills
- Mobility issues (two-story home vs. single story)
- Safety concerns
- Move closer to you or a sibling (support)
- Higher quality of life
Once you’ve definitively determined that it would be wise for your parents to downsize it’s time to share your concerns with them. Fortunately, with a little patience and persistence it is possible to persuade them.
Convincing Your Parents to Say “Yes”
A recent AARP survey found that 75% of all seniors polled desired to continue living in the same community for as long as possible. In addition to not wanting to leave friends and neighbors behind, many elderly homeowners are hesitant to move for sentimental reasons.
Using your aging parents’ objections as a guide here’s how to convince them to say “yes” to the idea of downsizing:
Have an Honest Discussion
As uncomfortable as it may be, having “the talk” is the first step. Think about what you would like to say based on your parents’ personalities. Are they more logical or emotion-driven? Invite your siblings to sit in but avoid using threats or intimidation when speaking with mom and dad. Be respectful of their wishes as you calmly share your concerns and offer solutions.
Sometimes it’s best to bring in a trusted outsider, like a clergy member, financial advisor or geriatric care manager. Once your parents agree to downsize, you’ll be ready to move forward.
Form a Transition Team
Starting with your immediate family, build a transition team based on each member’s time and talents. For example, your aunt may be a top-notch realtor that can help mom and dad find a new home and prepare their existing one for the market.
Help your parents look for a new place while considering that it might be where they live out the remainder of their lives. Remember that even though they might currently be healthy things could quickly change in the unforeseeable future. It’s usually best to find a one-level home that will easily accommodate safety upgrades as they grow older.
Prepare for the Move
The average senior accumulates a lot of personal belongings during their lifetime. Before moving, ask your parents if you can also help them downsize their possessions. Because it’s a huge life change the process won’t be easy and some decisions will be more emotional than others.
Suggest to your parents that they donate some of the excess items or hold a yard sale and pocket the proceeds. A professional organizer can also make things go more smoothly.
Do Some Reconnaissance
Another way to ensure a seamless transition is to scout out the area around your parents’ new home in advance. Make them a list of community centers, churches, restaurants, stores, parks and other attractions. If you’re not sure how to get started the local Elder Care Locator is a great “reconnaissance” resource.
Transition Your Parents to In-Home Care Instead
Convincing aging parents that downsizing is the best option so they can remain independent is not easy. Another option you have is finding them some reliable in-home care. At New Wave Home Care, we specialize in senior care services that are all about compassion and connection, delivered with a personal touch so that our clients can experience a degree of joy. Our professionals go above-and-beyond in their dedication to providing care for others, while making a difference in the lives of those we serve.
We support clients and their families with personalized home care solutions like transitional care, personal care, specialized care, respite care, medication reminders, dementia and Alzheimer’s care, hospice support and more. At New Wave Home Care, it’s not just about caregiving. It’s about heart! To learn more now or to set up a FREE in-home assessment for a senior in the greater Los Angeles area please visit us at: www.newwavehomecare.com.