Moving and Downsizing

Two things that may be stopping your aging parents from downsizing

June 14, 2022

Your aging parents are on the verge of downsizing their home. It’s a big undertaking, and they’re hesitating. Here are two things that might be holding them back and some suggestions on how to help them move forward.

Getting a home full of memories ready for sale

One of the hardest things about downsizing is getting a home full of memories ready for sale. It can be hard both physically and emotionally. And it’s bound to take more time than anticipated. 

Sorting through the entire contents of a house requires thousands of individual decisions. Does this item go to the new place? If not, do I sell it, donate it, give it to someone I know, or simply throw it away? These decisions can be particularly agonizing for items with strong sentimental value. Then there’s the time and effort of transporting everything where it needs to go.

The more time your parents can give themselves to get this done, the better. If possible, encourage them to get started before they even decide to list their house. Spreading the work over several months rather than just a few weeks will be less exhausting for them. (For you as well, if you’re lending a hand.) Creating a to-do list with deadlines is one way to make sure things get done and last-minute scrambling is kept to a minimum. A real estate agent who specializes in downsizing can be helpful here, even if your parents are months away from selling their home.

Of course, starting to sort through things a few months in advance may not be an option if a sudden change in health is what’s driving the move. In that case, you may be obliged to do a lot of the sorting yourself, possibly within a short timeframe. If that happens, consider hiring a senior move manager to lighten your load. If you decide to rely on family and friends, get them involved as soon as possible.

1950's kitchen
What's stopping your parents?

Finding a new home that’s a good fit

Your parents may worry whether any new home will suit them. Here are a few questions you can suggest they ask to help them assess the suitability of smaller new places.

If they’re purchasing a new home, like a bungalow or a condo:

  • Will it allow them to spend less time doing housework and more time doing the things they enjoy? For instance, are property maintenance services provided?
  • Will it allow them to age in place? Is everything located on one level? Could the bathroom be made wheelchair accessible? Are there any restrictions on the types of renovations they can make, if needed? Are there medical facilities nearby?
  • Do ongoing monthly fees – if there are any – fit with their budget?
  • How easy is it to get to shops, restaurants, and other places of interest?

If they’re renting a new home, like an apartment or a suite in a retirement community:

  • What sorts of opportunities are there to participate in interesting activities and meet new people?
  • Do they want to keep preparing their own meals or would they like to have them prepared for them? What dining options are available?
  • If they have health issues now or in the future, what sort of support is available and how much does it cost?
  • Can they sign up for a trial stay to see if they like the place (and the people) before committing?

Save time and stress

At Tea and Toast, we’ve helped hundreds of families have these sorts of discussions. We understand the landscape of senior living options in the Ottawa area and can point you to choices that are most likely to meet your parents’ needs, desires, and budget.

On average, we save families 80 hours that they would otherwise spend searching for a suitable new senior living community for their parents. And in some situations, we’re able to offer that help at no charge.

So why try to struggle through this on your own? Get in touch with us. We’d be happy to help.

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