There’s a difficult moment that many of us have to face, when it comes to helping our parents move to find a home that will suit them for their autumn years. They may be moving from the home they’ve lived in for most of their adult lives or simply a home they thought would last their retirement that isn’t working out. In any of these situations, it can often be hard when you find yourself taking responsibility for making these impactful decisions for the person or people who helped raise you. Finding ways to navigate this process while lovingly taking on that responsibility, as well as showing respect to your loved ones along the way can be a tremendously rewarding process.
Throughout the process, you’ll need to keep in mind the emotional impact that moving might have. Many factors may come into play here. If your loved one is moving away from a home they’ve been in for many years, it may be hard saying goodbye. If they’re moving because of a reduction in mobility or physical capability, there may be frustration with what may feel like a defeat, giving in to age or illness. It’s important to remember that processing these emotions can be unique to every individual and they don’t necessarily all happen at once. Have patience throughout the process, and remember that there’s often more going on than it seems. Make sure you’re taking time to let them feel and be heard, use empathy to show that you respect their struggle, and assure them that you are truly working in their best interest.
At the very beginning of this process, it’s important to have a clear idea in mind of why they are moving. Is it because a lack of physical accessibility such as needing to eliminate steps or have wider doors and hallways? Or are you simply needing a home requiring less upkeep, or maybe a home that has lower monthly costs? Having clear answers to all of these questions will go a long way to ensuring that the process goes smoothly.
In all likelihood, they are going to need to downsize some belongings in the process of this move. This can be a lot of work, and it could be worth your while to get some help. I can recommend services that will help you with downsizing items, reselling some belongings to help finance the move, or simply removing old “junk” that can often accumulate over the years of living in one place. Take inventory of what belongings your parents have, and make some careful decisions about what they’re still going to need in their new home, as well as what items they may want to go to some family members, which can help this process go more smoothly.
Finally, there are a number of financial factors you’ll want to consider in the process of this move. Depending on your parents income and financial situation, there may be government assistance available to help with some of the costs. The Benefits CheckUp website maintained by the National Council on Aging can be an excellent resource to get you started here. Also, depending on your parents age, health, and financial situation, there are legal questions that may need to be answered, such as what to do with the proceeds from selling their current home or if the new home should be purchased through a trust. Consulting a qualified attorney is critical in such cases, and if you don’t have someone you trust, I can refer you to someone with qualifications in that field. It’s also crucial that sooner rather than later, you locate and keep track of crucial paperwork that may be needed later. If the home was originally purchased jointly or in the name of a parent who has since passed away, you’ll need their death certificate on hand for the title process. Power of attorney may also need to be on file in some cases.
Once you’ve begun the search for a new home, there are other factors to keep in mind. You’ll want to find a home in a location that’s convenient for their new life, perhaps close to grandchildren or doctor’s appointments. I also find it’s often helpful to give careful thought to what they love about their current home to help guide you in choosing a new one. Is there a room with lots of sunlight they particularly enjoy morning reading in? We can try to find a home with a similar room. Also, before beginning the process of packing up belongings, take the time to take plenty of photos of their old home, noting the placement of belongings and the overall decor. Trying to match this as closely as possible in the new home can go a long way to helping your loved ones settle in at their new one.
Regardless of where you are in this process, I am here to help. I have both the years of experience and the depth of knowledge you need in a real estate advisor, along with a wide network of contacts in the area that I can bring to the table to make this process go as smoothly as possible for you and your family. Contact me today, and I will work hard to help guide you through this process, and to give you the peace of mind knowing that you did the right thing to take care of the people who devoted so much of their life to taking care of you!