We all go through the stages of home ownership in our lives. First we rent, then we buy our first home, then we move into a larger home when we have a family and finally we downsize as we grow older.
Do your parents need some help in making this life changing decision? Here are 5 signs that they may be ready to downsize into something more manageable.
Are they having difficulty with the current upkeep?
Your parents want, and need, their independence. But sometimes pride gets in the way in refusing to downsize and acknowledge that they just can’t accomplish what they used to. The family home was just that – a family home. Purchased quite a while ago when there were children in the house. All of the children have moved out and have started their own families and your parents are still in the same house.
As the home gets older things start to need maintenance and repair resulting in expense or your parents reaching their physical limitations. If you see them struggling to maintain the home or property or are keeping it for sentimental reasons, it’s probably a good time to have a gentle discussion centered around moving.
Are they having financial issues?
Once you stop working you become dependant on your own savings and/or government assistance. It’s nice to know that your prescription costs are covered by the government when you reach the age of 65 and doctors visits are also covered. However not everything is 100% covered and let’s face it, as we get older we can normally expect to start dishing out for medical expenses not covered.
Entertainment costs, vacations and the home expenses start to eat away at savings. Many of the older generation believe in paying off the mortgage as soon as possible and using the value of the home towards their retirement.
Well, perhaps financial challenges are now coming to play and the equity in their home can be used to help them in their later years. They don’t have to be further away just because they sell their home. Many parents are now moving in with their adult children. Finally! Some revenge!
Are they having difficulty finding things?
When you visit your parents and you ask to see a family picture or a memento that you know they have, do they have difficulty in finding it or can’t locate it at all?
I’m not talking about the medical diagnosis of dementia here, just not being able to find something because of all the stuff your parents have in the home. It’s nice to be surrounded by items from the past but not if they are packed away because of the volume of items in the house.
I’ve suggested to many families that they create a Memory Box with the most important photos and remembrances and hang it on a wall for all to see. Just the sight of these items will bring back a lot of memories to cherish. If your parents are keeping a home just because they can’t fit everything they currently have into smaller quarters it is time to talk about downsizing and reorganization.
Do you feel your parents are not safe in their home?
As your parents age they may not be able to get around like they used to and perhaps don’t have the reflexes that they once had. Things they could easily manoeuvre around before or step over may now be a trip and fall hazard.
Remember that old television commercial with the lady who fell? – “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”. If you feel your parents safety is being compromised by having too much stuff in the house, it is time to discuss downsizing.
Are they looking for a little freedom in their lives?
Perhaps your parents secretly want to buy that motor home or want to leave the cold for a couple of months in the winter. They feel guilty about spending that kind of money or feel guilty about being away from the kids or the grandchildren. They’ve probably worked hard most of their lives and they deserve to do these things while they still can. Let them know that they have plenty of time to visit in the warmer months and that by downsizing they will have the funds to enjoy themselves.
Downsizing may not be right for everyone but many of our parents are going to do it. Look for the signs and have the gentle conversation with them. It is of course their decision, but downsizing could have a very positive impact on their lives.
ClutterBGone has assisted many families with this life transitions and would be pleased to assist you as well. Contact us here for more information or to have any questions answered.