Parents Downsizing? A Guide to A Smooth Transition
If it’s time for your parents to scale down in Colorado Springs, it can be difficult for the whole family. Baby boomers are the last generation of Americans that stayed in one place—so undertaking a move from a house that maintains decades of memories is hard for the entire family. But, there are some strategies for a smooth transition, so take a deep breath and read on.
In a flawless world, you have 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 perfect and you don't have a clue, get information on these two imperative components quickly, and stay up to date moving forward. It would be very unfortunate to have a health or financial situation and be entirely unaware as to their position. Asking your parents for information about their finances is tough, but being blindsided when you find out your dad's “long-lost cousin” is that Nigerian prince living in the Tokyo airport and has gotten all your parents’ money is more difficult.
Have the dialogues when there's no rush, and your mother does not feel like you’re forcing her out of her home. The more you and your siblings discover over lunch, the better off you will all be when you must make choices rapidly. Convene with their attorneys and doctors to be sure that you can help manage affairs if you need to and that you can access medical and health care information if there's an emergency. These two items are vitally important if you are more than a few hours away, as you might need to handle things remotely. HIPAA states that even if your mom's doctor was your fourth-grade soccer teammate, without the right permissions in writing, they cannot disclose any information to you.
What to Take?
For a lot of families, selecting one sibling to be the person in charge of legal problems pales in comparison to determining who is going to discern which items move to the new house, what will be donated, and which sibling gets the family china. Don't permit this commence a family argument, your parents are moving and are likely going to hand onto the china and silver. In any event, most downsizes mean a significant loss of space—going from a three or four-bedroom house to one or two bedrooms and one living space--so there is a plethora of stuff to go around.
After your clan has come to the conclusion that downsizing is the way to go for your parents, if they will be moving to a senior community, there's typically a waiting period of a couple months before they actually make the move. Most communities renovate the units before a new resident comes in. If the prior resident had lived there for many years, they may do a complete update—so you'll usually get things like new kitchen counters and kitchen appliances, Wi-Fi, and updated bathroom components along with fresh paint and carpet. The time offers your parents time to adjust to the idea of moving, especially if they are moving to a new area.
Obtain a print-out of the floor plan of their new home or apartment. Some retirement communities will hand you not only a floor plan, but some peel-off furniture stickers so you can actually place the furniture and accessories. The stickers can be moved on the paper, so you can play around with it until you find the best layout. This is a huge help emotionally, understanding before you move any furniture what they can take with them and how it will conform to the space. Surrounding themselves with familiar belongings and mementos can take some of the sting out of leaving home.
Leading up to Moving Day in Colorado Springs
Moving day for your parents will probably be difficult, no matter how prepared you are, and if they are ready to give up the house and not have the yard anymore. Here's a short schedule to get ready for 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 decide if you want a full-service move, a la carte (select only certain services the movers do) or get a truck and do it yourself.
Figure out if you'll need some storage, and where you want it to be. Many moving companies furnish storage options, which can be very useful. Some people aren't sure what will really work in the new space and would like to have a few more choices before they make the ultimate determination. In addition, when college-age grandchildren are around, some families prefer to store old couches and other items that will be of use in first apartments.
Start determining what they can take, which items you and your siblings will divide up, and which items to donate. However you decide to split up, you will want to indicate what goes to whom. Various colored small sticky notes are a great way to note things, so that the right belongings wind up going to the right places.
Discuss with your parents on what to give to charity--although the idea of a garage sale is attractive, if cash flow is not an issue, you'll probably do better donating most stuff and taking the write-off. If they have valuable items, ask a local antiques dealer to appraise them before you donate. Some non-profits, like Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, and the Salvation Army, will even send a truck to pick-up your donated things. Call a week or so out to schedule pick up.
One Month Out
Start clearing out cabinets, closets, the basement, garage, etc. If you have more belongings than energy, hire a company to come clean out after you have moved everything that you want out of the home. This is well worth the money, especially if you're out of town and your parents are having a difficult time with the move. You can also arrange to have the moving company load up the household goods and personal belongings before the rest of the home is cleared out, sparing your mom and dad from viewing their home looking empty and lonely.
If you are doing your own packing, get acceptable-quality packing supplies. The moving company will have the best quality at the lowest cost and can offer packing guidance. Again, take out the sticky notes for the boxes or have a system for keeping everything in order. If everyone is nearby, it is ideal to bring over some big bins and pull out of the driveway an hour later with old yearbooks and diving trophies all packed up in your vehicle. That's most of the time not the case, so as you pack up the boxes, label them accordingly and place them in the recipient's bedroom or a labeled area of the living room.
One Week Out
Double-check your plans with the moving company, both for the move to the new residence and putting items in storage. If you're not positive the amount of storage you will need, they can help you in figuring it out, you will most likely actually need double the space you think.
Be sure to have a solid plan for moving day. Have one sibling, grandchild or friend take your parents out for brunch, and then on to the new house. You or a sibling stay behind to oversee the movers. Mitigate as much worry as you can that morning, so when the moving truck gets to their place your parents are not tired and anxious. Help them unbox things and settle in, and don't be surprised if they have a dinner invitation already—they're the new kids on the block and in high demand.
Ready to start planning a move to Colorado Springs? Let A-1 Freeman help. Click here to get started.