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Plan Ahead When Downsizing

 Posted by Jacqueline Jones on September 6, 2016 at 11:30 AM

As our society lives “younger longer” late life home transition has become our new rite of passage.

Most people want to age in place, but many will not be able to.  There are health and safety hazards.  Most of our parents will make a late-in-life home transition, and it will be up to us, their adult children to help them through it.  If we’re lucky, they’ll be in good health and just want to downsize or move into an active senior community where they can make new friends.  Often it will be because they have had an accident or are in poor health and are no longer able to stay in their homes.  With jobs and kids of our own, not to mention geography challenges, we are left anxious and stressed out wondering how we’re going to manage it all. 

If you or your parents are like the rest of us you have lots of stuff that you’ve accumulated over the years and haven’t given much thought to paring down. When did Noah build the ark?  Before the rain.  Don’t wait until you’re in crisis mode.  Plan ahead.

There’s a lot that goes into downsizing.  Not just the act of selling a house and buying a new one, but the physical labor involved, financial requirements, and more.  It may seem overwhelming.  There are so many things to do, the task seems daunting, so often we wait and wait and wait and bury our heads in the sand until it’s too late.  It doesn’t have to be such an overwhelming ordeal.  Follow some simple steps and enlist help.

  • Have a conversation with your parents.  Find out what they want, what they’ve planned, etc.
  • Speak with the rest of the family members.  Try to get everyone on board.
  • Separate large tasks into smaller, manageable tasks.
  • Select items that work for today’s lifestyle and not yesterday’s lifestyle.  Respect your new living space. Don’t overcrowd it.
  • Release things in a way that is best for your situation.  Do you want to gift them to family? Sell them? Donate them? Is it more important that you liquidate them quickly or get top dollar?
  • Treat yourself to more support and less stress.  Consider a move manager. Different from the moving company, they will pack you and unpack you, making your new place live-in ready.

Downsizing is stressful, but it doesn’t need to overwhelm you.  Plan ahead, communicate with stakeholders, and enlist help from the experts.