How to Help Aging Parents Transition to Smaller Living

  • 4 years ago

Moving to a new home can be both exciting and challenging. While every new space comes with fresh opportunities and potential, the emotional and physical strain of packing up your belongings and leaving your community can take a toll. This is especially true when it comes time for an aging parent to downsize or relocate. 

Whether your parent(s) needs to find a smaller, more manageable home or move into assisted-style housing, there are many ways to help make the transition more comfortable. Smaller living doesn’t mean less meaningful living. As you work toward finding a new home for your elderly parent(s), here are five ways to help them readily adjust to smaller living. 

Start with Decluttering

As with any move, decluttering is an important part of the packing process. With elderly parents, however, it may be helpful to start decluttering even before the details of the move are in place. Many aging parents have been in their homes for years, and transitioning to smaller living means parting with memories and valued possessions. 

One of the best ways to start decluttering is to simply go through a few items at a time. When rushed, the choice to part with belongings can feel painful. By starting small, with a few items at a time, your aging parent has an opportunity to process their choice to sell or donate their things. 

Helping talk through each item, and maintaining a calm and positive attitude can also help your loved one not get too nostalgic or emotional about decluttering and downsizing. It can also be beneficial to encourage your parent(s) to donate their items to charity, a choice that often leaves us feeling grateful that we can use our belongings for good. 

Plan Ahead

Once the decluttering process is underway, it is helpful to plan how the remaining belongings will fit into a smaller space. Working with your real estate agent or living facility, ask for access to a floor plan with dimensions for the living areas and bedrooms. Using your floorplan, you can help your aging parent(s) map out where or how their furniture will fit into the new space.

This is also a great time to help them get excited about the possibilities and potential of their new home. What new items will make the space more organized, liveable, and feel like home? Sometimes finding furnishing solutions for a new space makes the transition feel less daunting and more appealing.

Prepare the Home to Sell

As plans fall into place for your parent(s) to downsize, preparing their home to sell will help them get the most value for their property. Since the decluttering is done, now you can take time to focus on the interior and exterior value of the home. These are just a few ways we recommend fixing and prepping a home to sell. 

  • Fix any broken or damaged items. This can include repairing damage in walls, replacing a cupboard hinge, or fixing a damaged window.
  • Apply fresh paint. Start with the interior walls and bring them up-to-date with a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color. Consider painting the exterior if time and budget allow. Curb appeal adds measurable value to a home, and updating siding or paint color is a cost-effective solution.
  • Landscape. Mowing the lawn, trimming hedges, and even planting some season-appropriate plants can help catch a buyer’s eye. 
  • Staging. Bringing a stager into the selling process helps buyers visualize the space as their own and can also add measurable value to the home.

Stay Positive

In the midst of all these changes, a positive perspective goes a long way! Your aging parents are navigating many emotions, challenges, and in some cases, they may even experience a sense of loss. Even though transitioning to smaller living will lead to their long term comfort, the unknown road ahead can feel overwhelming.

Staying positive and focusing on the benefits of moving will help them keep the benefits of downsizing at the forefront of their minds. Take time to share with them the ways in which life will be easier in their new living situation. Remind them that less space also means less maintenance and more time to spend with grandkids, relax, and get to know their new neighbors. 

Hire an Experienced Agent

Helping aging parents transition to smaller living can also be overwhelming for you and other loved ones. But you don’t have to do it all alone. Experienced real estate agents can help alleviate some of the more stressful aspects of getting your parents’ home ready to sell or helping them locate a smaller space that will accommodate their changing needs. 

As Nashville-area realtors, we work closely with our clients to help them navigate some of the more unfamiliar aspects of moving and downsizing. We’ve helped those in all different stages of life plan, prepare, and get the best price for their home in order to set them up for future success in their smaller space. As you help your aging parents walk peacefully through their transition, we are there to guide every step of the home selling or buying process. Not sure how to get the home ready to sell? We help with that, too.

Let our experience guide you through this season change. Contact us to learn more about the areas we serve and how we can help you and your parents safely and smoothly transition to smaller living. 

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