Parents Downsizing? A Guide to A Smooth Transition

by Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group
 

Moving - Parents MovingIf it is time for your parents to downsize in Killeen, it can be tough on the total family. Baby boomers are the last generation of Americans that didn’t move around much—so dealing with a move from a house that holds decades of memories is tough for the whole family. But, there are some suggestions for the best way to navigate the transition, so take heart and keep reading.

Plan Ahead

In a flawless world, you've been kept updated on your parents’ health care and finances for a few years prior to when they scale down or move to a senior living community. If your world's not ideal and you don't know much about your parents’ matters, get informed on these two specific items as soon as possible, and keep up to date in the future. It would be very unfortunate to have a health or financial situation and be entirely in the dark as to their condition. Asking your parents what their financial picture looks like is hard, but being surprised when you discover your dad's “best friend” is that Nigerian prince living in the Tokyo airport and has stolen all his money is harder.

Have the conversations when there is no imperativeness, and your mother does not feel like you are forcing her to sell her residence. The more you and your siblings can glean over the dinner table, the better off you will all be when you have to make rulings hurriedly. Convene with their attorneys and doctors to make sure that you can aid in managing affairs if needed and that you can get medical and health care reports if there is an emergency. These two items are incredibly important if you live more than a couple of hours away, as you could need to manage things remotely. HIPAA states that even if your mom's doctor was your second-grade t-ball buddy, without the right permissions in writing, they cannot tell you anything.

What to Take?

For a lot of families, appointing one sibling to be the person in charge of legal issues is nothing compared to working out who gets to decide what belongings move to the new residence, what will be donated, and which sibling gets the family china. Don't permit this start a family fight, your parents are moving and will likely keep the china and silver. Anyway, most downsizes mean a notable loss of space—going from a three or four-bedroom house to one or two bedrooms and one living space--so there is lots of stuff to go around.

Once your clan has made the decision that downsizing is best for your parents, if they will be going to a senior community, there's usually a waiting period of several months before they actually make the move. Most communities refurbish the units before a new resident comes in. If the prior resident had been there for several years, they might do a full update—so you will normally get things like new countertops and kitchen appliances, Wi-Fi, and updated bathroom fixtures along with fresh paint and flooring. These weeks offer your parents time to acclimate to the idea of moving, especially if they are going to a new city.

Get a copy of the floor plan of their new house or apartment. Some retirement communities will provide you not only a floor plan, but a sheet of adhesive peel-off furniture stickers so you can actually place the furniture and accessories. The pieces can be moved around the floor plan, so you can change it up until you get it just right. This is a big help emotionally, understanding prior to moving day what they can take with them and how it will fit in the space. Being around themselves with familiar things and mementos can take some of the sting out of leaving home.

Downsizing - MovingLeading up to Moving Day in Killeen

Moving day for your parents will most likely be rough, even if you are very organized, and however much they are glad to give up the house and not have to deal with the yard anymore. Here's a timeline leading up to the big day, giving you a couple of months to get gear up.

Two Months Out

Select a professional moving company. Look at your budget to figure out if you want a full-service move, a la carte (pick and choose what services the movers do) or get a moving truck and do it yourself.

Figure out if you'll need short term storage, and where it should be located. Many moving companies furnish storage options, which can be very convenient. Some people aren't sure what will really work in the new space and would like to have a few more options before they make the ultimate decision. Also, when college-age grandkids are present, some families prefer to store old furniture and other things that could be used in first apartments.

Commence deciding what they will move, which items you and your siblings will divvy up, and what to donate. However you opt to divide up, you'll need to note what goes to whom. Assorted colored small sticky notes are a great way to note things, so that the correct items wind up arriving at the right residences.

Be flexible with your parents on what to give to charity--although the thought of a yard sale is tempting, if cash flow is not an issue, you'll likely do better donating most stuff and taking the write-off. If they have valuable belongings, ask a local antiques dealer to appraise them prior to donating. Some charities, like Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, and the Salvation Army, will even dispatch a truck to pick-up your donated things. Call a week or so out to schedule pick up.

One Month Out

Begin clearing out cabinets, closets, the basement, garage, etc. If you've got more stuff than energy, employ a company to come clean out once you have gotten everything that you want out of the home. This is definitely worth the charge, especially if you don’t live nearby and your parents are having a hard time with the move. You can also arrange to have the moving company take the household goods and personal things before the remainder of the residence is cleared out, sparing your mom and dad from seeing their residence looking empty and lonely.

If you are doing your own packing, purchase acceptable-quality packing supplies. The moving company will carry the best quality at the lowest cost and can provide packing guidance. Again, bring out the sticky notes for the boxes or have a plan for keeping things in order. If everyone is nearby, it's ideal to bring over some big bins and pull out of the driveway an hour later with old prom dresses and diving trophies all packed up in your vehicle. That's most of the time not the case, so as you box things up, label them accordingly and place them in the recipient's bedroom or a designated corner of the living room.

One Week Out

Confirm your plans with the moving company, both for the move to the new house and moving to storage. If you are not sure the amount of storage you will require, they can help you in calculating, you will most likely really need twice the space you think.

Moving Day

Make sure you have discussed everyone’s roles for moving day. Have one sibling, grandchild or friend take your parents out for brunch, and then on to their new abode. You or a sibling stay behind to handle the movers. Ease as much worry as you can that morning, so when the moving truck pulls up your parents are not tired and anxious. Help them unbox things and settle in, and don't be surprised if they're invited to dinner—they're the new kids on the block and everyone will want to meet them.

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