How to Help Senior Parents Downsize
If you need to help your parents cut back on the f things they’ve gathered over the years, you might not know where to start. It’s not easy trying to decide what to keep and what to get rid of when it comes to your parents’ home. They’ve likely got decades-worth of possessions, with many of them being important in some way. However, the process should be completed at some point, especially when planning a move. Here are a few ways to make the task a bit easier.
Handle the Downsize in Sections
Remember that if your parents have been in their home for a long time, there’s going to be a lifetime of items to sort through. It can be an incredibly daunting task to look through everything in one go, and trying to do so is only going to exhaust you, and make it likely you’ll give up halfway through the ordeal. Instead, start the downsizing by sorting through items which nobody really uses anymore. Look through attics, basements, garages, and other storage areas. This way you can catch some speed by getting rid of more items at the very beginning, and you can keep up a decent pace.
Don’t Decide FOR Your Parents
Be respectful during the downsizing process, it’s best to let your parents make the decisions of what to keep or toss, you’re there to help, not decide. You’re getting rid of their stuff and they should have plenty of say regarding what they want to keep and what they want to discard. Keep in mind, an item which is not important to you might have significant sentimental value to them. Keep your parents as involved as you reasonably can and don’t force them to part with something they love.
Consider New Space
If your parents are relocating as part of the downsize, consider the new space when you’re going through what to keep and what to get rid of. If something is too large for the space your parents will be moving into, suggest that they part with it, or have it put into a storage. It’s hard to let go of items which we’ve had for most of our lives, but relocating may allow for a significantly smaller square footage, it’s important that your parents bring the items they use the most to make the most use out of their new home. The enormous hutch or the California king-sized bed might have to find a new home.
Possible In-Home Care?
If it’s within your budget, you might want to consider hiring some in-home care for your senior parents. This way, they can stay in their home, the de-cluttering you’ve accomplished will be easy to maintain, and your parents will have a professional around to ensure that they’re doing well in their space. Hiring a maid or a caregiver will help keep the home clean, even if it’s a larger home. Sometimes these services cost less than having your parents move into a retirement community.
No Maybe Pile
If downsizing is something you’re very serious about, it’s a good idea to nix the “Maybe Pile” all together and stick with a “Keep” or “Discard” sorting method. This will help your parents towards reasonable choices regarding what to keep and what to get rid of. If it helps, keep the idea of the “Maybe Pile”, but plan to get rid of 80% of it once the sorting is done. Remind your parents the items they’re no longer using could easily be donated to a good cause, like blankets which could be sent to a women’s shelter, or pots and pans that can find a new home at a thrift store.
Downsizing isn’t easy, and sometimes, it isn’t pleasant. Try to be as respectful as you can, while being assertive at the same time. Downsizing will be much easier if everyone is on the same page throughout the process.
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