Supporting Senior Parents That Want to Move
The past few weeks have been interesting for me. I have received calls from senior folks looking to make a move and for one reason or another they have back peddled, changing their minds because they are thinking of their kids or the task it to overwhelming.
Disclaimer: I am not saying in any way shape or form that seniors can not make decisions for themselves! Everything is relative as I can be seen as senior myself!
For this discussions sake, I am talking about folks that have lived in a home for many years and have adult children. The folks that I have met with for the most part are physically agile, alert and very much wanting to enjoy an active, vibrant lifestyle. They just want to move for one reason or another. Ease of living, house is too big, less worry about maintenance, or a new start.
I am not talking about places they can go, because we have as a community developed many alternatives in terms of active adult subdivisions emphasizing maintenance free living. In my market area, we have many different options for the 55 and older group. We also have independent living communities that offer apartment / condo style living with all kinds of amenities within the community itself including dining, wood working shops, exercise facilities, etc. I have recently found something that I thought had been lacking and that was a rental community geared to the over 55 group.
So, having said this, a senior has many different options available to them that were not available in the past.
How you can help when your parent(s) want to move.
Recognize that it is a highly emotional decision. Do Not put the guilt trip on them!! Do not say to them don't sell my childhood home. There are some that might think this piece of advice is silly, but believe me, I have seen it in action. The adult child does not really mean anything by these harmless (or so they think) comments. But, it does have a real effect on an older person that has spent, in many cases, their entire life in this home. There are tons of memories here and it is difficult to make that change. Don't give them reason for doubt. See it as the positive step it can be for them.
Help get their "house" in order. For many that have been in a home for years and raised a kid or two in a home, they have "stuff." Removing and weeding through that "stuff" is daunting at any age. I do believe that older folks are more reluctant to just pitch things that have function and are in good shape. Help your parents find a place for these things be it a charitable organization or the dump. Read Peggy Hughes, Professional Moving Organizers blog, for tips on this. After just going through a move myself, I do understand how much physical work it is. Recognize that getting their things packed and in order is a physical ordeal for someone of any age and offer to lend a hand.
Engage in the house hunt with them. How cool will it be for your parents to have what is considered common place today. Imagine them having a laundry on the main floor, or central air! How nice that they might have a garage or a new kitchen? Be excited for them.
Help with the financial aspects. I am not advocating paying for their new home, although that would be nice if we could do that. What I do mean is help them understand the costs in reference to today's dollar. So many times I have seen someone say that they can't afford this new community, because they don't realize the value of their own place. It might be that they paid $17,000 for their home and don't understand that they can swap it for a new one. Do you think this is silly? It's not. Many of these folks underestimate the value of their home and don't believe they can get into something more suitable at a price that they would gladly pay.
If they are looking at a condo, help them understand the fee in realistic terms. It goes for cutting of the grass, shoveling snow, insurance. These things they are probably already paying someone for now. So, what's the big deal?
Ultimately as adult children we need to think of what is best for our parents and support their decisions as to what they want to do and where they want to live. Sure, they can stay in the family homestead. That's their decision, but when/if they want to move, help to make it easy for them.
It's not about us this time.
About the author
Carol-Ann Palmieri, a full time Real Estate professional in Massachusetts for the past 24 years along with Al Mussi have helped hundreds of families find, sell or purchase new places to live.
A former US Marine, she grew up in Walpole, MA... is committed to the serving the community through various volunteer opportunities. She attended MA Bay Community and Suffolk University and is committed to constantly updating her Real Estate education.
Licensed in MA and RI...
Al and Cal's primary areas of service Franklin, Bellingham, Medway, Millis, Medfield, Norfolk, Wrentham, Plainville, Blackstone, Walpole, Milford, Holliston, Hopkinton, Mansfield, and Foxboro, North Attleboro, Hopedale, Mendon, Millville but have resourses to help anyone, anywhere....
Her mission.... To exceed your expectations!