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 keeps years 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 several years prior to when they scale down or move to a senior living community. If your world's not ideal and you don't have a clue, get information on these two imperative items as soon as possible, and keep up to date in the future. It would be very unfortunate to have a health or financial emergency and be totally unaware as to their position. Questioning your parents about their finances is difficult, but being surprised when you discover your dad's “best friend” is that Nigerian prince living in the Tokyo airport and has taken all his money is harder.

Have the conversations when there is no rush, 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 assist in managing affairs if necessary and that you can get medical and health care records if there is an emergency. These two items are incredibly important if you live more than one or two hours away, as you could need to take care of 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 provide you any information.

What to Take?

For many families, selecting one sibling to be the person in charge of legal issues pales in comparison to figuring out who will 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 argument, 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 plenty of stuff to go around.

Once your clan has come to the conclusion that downsizing is best for your parents, if they will be going to a senior community, there's normally a waiting period of several months prior to being able to move in. Most communities remodel the units prior to when 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 thought 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 on the floor plan, so you can change it up until you get it just right. This is a enormous help emotionally, understanding prior to moving day what they can take with them and how it will take up the space. Being around themselves with familiar belongings 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 difficult, even if you are very organized, and however much they are glad to vacate the house and not have to deal with the yard anymore. Here's a timeline to get ready for the big day, giving you a couple of months to get prep.

Two Months Out

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

Figure out if you'll need any 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 want to have a few more options before they make the ultimate . In addition, when college-age grandkids are present, some families prefer to store old furniture and other things that could be used in first apartments.

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

Work with your parents on what to give to charity--although the concept of a moving 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 items, ask a local antiques dealer to appraise them prior to donating. Some non-profits, like Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, and the Salvation Army, will even dispatch a truck to get your donated things. Call a week or so out to schedule pick up.

One Month Out

Commence clearing out cabinets, closets, the basement, garage, etc. If you've got more belongings than ambition, employ a company to come clean out once you have gotten everything that you want out of the residence. This is positively worth the cost, 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 possessions before the balance of the home is cleared out, sparing your mom and dad from seeing their home looking empty and lonely.

If you are doing your own packing, buy acceptable-quality packing supplies. The moving company will carry the best quality at the lowest cost and can provide packing guidance. Again, take out the sticky notes for the boxes or be organized with 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 t-ball trophies all packed up in your vehicle. That's most of the time not the case, so as you pack boxes, label them accordingly and put 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 anxiety as you can that morning, so when the moving van 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.

Ready to begin planning a move to Killeen? Let A-1 Freeman help. Click here to get started.