Is It Time for a Parent to Downsize Their Home?

Is it time for an aging parent to downsize? If you are an adult child, you may be asking yourself that question. A big home with a large yard may have been the perfect place to raise a family, but now it’s just too much. The time, money, and burden of maintaining a home likely don’t make much sense.

Rightsizing is a term used to describe the process of aligning your goals with your living situation and planning for the years ahead. For older adults, that’s an important process to think through.

Here are a few questions you and your parents can ask yourselves to determine if now is a good time to rightsize and make a move to a smaller home or a retirement community.

Rightsizing Your Living Situation for Retirement

    1. Is the house becoming a burden to me or my family?

Home maintenance often becomes a family affair for seniors. Adult children frequently pitch in to keep things in good repair. Sometimes it’s a way for adult children to show their love and support. Other times that support comes at the cost of an adult child’s personal well-being.

Does the house feel like a burden to the family now? Are you missing out on events and activities because you are tied down by home maintenance tasks? Equally important, is the senior family member’s desire to remain in the home a burden for the rest of the family? Be honest and objective in your discussion about it.

    2. Does the financial impact of caring for the home make sense?

Once you retire, your goals for the future typically change. Some retirement dreams can be expensive. Traveling, new hobbies, and indulging the grandkids might take a bite out of your budget. If the expenses associated with caring for a house are keeping your parent from chasing their retirement dreams, it may be time to make a change.

    3. Is this a good time to sell and relocate?

Let’s be honest—moving is never fun. Even with help from friends and family, it can be a lot of work! As your loved one grows older, relocating will likely become even more difficult. Making this move now, when a parent is healthy enough to benefit from all the features and amenities a retirement community has to offer, usually makes more sense. It also protects an older adult’s physical and emotional well-being by keeping them active and engaged with community events.

    4. Does the home lend itself to safely aging in place?

When asked, most older adults say they want to remain in their own home for the rest of their lives. For many, that’s not a very realistic expectation. Few houses are designed with the safety needs of a senior in mind. Uneven stairways, narrow hallways, poor lighting, and old bathtubs can all present safety hazards. Once an older adult gives up driving, a lack of access to safe, affordable transportation is another barrier. Take an objective look around your parent’s home and neighborhood to assess how safe and convenient it might be when they are less mobile.

Be Honest in Your Assessment

The sentimental attachment families often feel toward an elder’s home can make these questions tough to answer, but it’s important to try. If you find yourself identifying with any of the situations outlined above, your parent may benefit from moving to a senior-friendly condominium or a retirement community. 5 Tips for Having “The Talk” with an Aging Parent offers good advice for initiating this conversation.

In the meantime, it may give you and your parent peace of mind to invest in an emergency medical alert system. If they need help, even when they are away from home, they can summon it with the push of a button. Call 1-844-203-5617 to learn more!