You might imagine my mother belongs to a nomadic tribe evidenced by how few possessions she keeps in her home. Although her worldly goods wouldn’t fit on a camel’s back, a small trailer would do if she downsizes. My mother is great at purging because she doesn’t attach sentimental value to many things. She was even set to toss my Dad’s golf trophies and was baffled when I said I’d like to have them. But most seniors have a difficult time faced with sorting through a lifetime of accumulated possessions in preparation for a downsizing move.An article on EldercareABCblog.com tackles the topic of helping a senior parent through a downsizing, addressing practical issues of preparing the home for sale and some emotional aspects.
- Determine what can be thrown out or donated – You are there to assist, not control what your parent decides to take or toss. But if they’re moving to an assisted living community apartment, help them be realistic about limited space in their new home. Don’t push – this is a difficult time of transition for your parent and they need to feel they have some control.
- Look at the home through a buyer’s eyes – Much-loved items in your senior parent’s home may be exactly what would turn off a buyer, particularly a young family. Help sort through personal items that are around the home, putting most into storage. Keep a few things your parent is attached to in a box that can easily be put in a closet before a showing.
- Remove “built-ins” that have special significance – Most homes are sold with the understanding that window treatments and things attached come with the house. The article gives the example of a removable, handmade bookshelf that a parent wants to keep. Remove these prior to listing the home.
While your parent’s home is listed for sale, be sure to allow ample opportunities for them to talk about the process and space to grieve the loss of that former life.