Many dream downsizing our home as a well earned reward--I got to the finish line and now I can let it all go and enjoy my golden years! Occasionally however, downsizing is met with tremendous reluctance and sadness. This often happens to the families that face the needed transitioning of mom and/or dad to a more manageable living situations, whether it's a smaller one-level house/condo, a senior housing complex or assisted living facility.
I have watched families struggle with making that difficult decision to sell the "family home." Recognizing when "it's time" often comes clouded with doubt. Recognizing these changes can help make the necessary decisions:
Is your loved one living in just a few rooms of the home? Perhaps it's not out of choice but rather they can no longer move freely and safely in all areas of the home. Special measures are often taken in accident prone areas such a holding bars in bathrooms or stair chair lifts--that is not uncommon. However, be conscience of rooms that are no longer safely accessible or looked after. This would include basements, walk-up attics, third floor living spaces and detached garages.
Is the home being cared for by the owner or is it now a team effort? It is stressful for everyone involved when your loved one is depending on family members, friends and neighbors to do most of the daily/weekly chores. It's stressful on their wallet when they hire workers to do the tasks that they used to handle themselves.
Is there deferred maintenance and neglect happening either inside or outside the home? This may be due to the lack of funds to address the issues or the lack of time and energy by the gracious volunteers to take on the projects. Either way, deferred maintenance has a significant impact on the sale price of a home.
Can your love-one make the best decisions for their own health and safety while being in their current home? Excessive need for post-it note reminders throughout the house can indicate that living in the house is overwhelming. Be especially conscience of those reminders that directly impact the safety or health of your loved one such as reminders to turn off the stove, take medications, lock doors, etc.
Reaching out to physicians, friends, neighbors and caregivers can often give valuable insight. Don't be afraid to ask questions of those surrounding folks. Transitioning or downsizing is a difficult decision that should be made for best interest and well being of your loved one.