If you have an aging parent or another aging relative, it may be in their best interest to downsize. That means moving to a smaller house, decluttering, and living a more minimalistic lifestyle. So how can you help your relative through this process?
The Philosophy of Downsizing
Downsizing as an older adult has many benefits, both for the adult doing the downsizing and for the people around them. These are some of the most important:
- Lower cost of living. Generally speaking, a downsized, minimalistic lifestyle is going to have a lower cost of living. If the older adult in your life is on a fixed income, or if they’re no longer making as much money as they used to, this could be huge for their personal finances. Moving to a house that’s half the size could instantly shrink a mortgage payment by half, saving thousands of dollars per year.
- Easier mobility. It’s not just about saving money. It’s also about providing easier mobility to an adult who’s having a harder time moving around. If your loved one has joint pain, a chronic illness, or other factors that prohibit them from moving around freely, it’s important to give them a small and navigable space that they can use to take care of themselves easily. Eliminating stairs and providing bigger rooms and hallways could instantly make it easier for your loved one to get around.
- Less life complexity. Many people who switch to a minimalistic lifestyle speak highly of the benefits of a less complex life. In a decluttered house with more open space, it’s natural to feel calm and distressed. If you have fewer possessions to manage, your life is easier to manage. And if you’re living less of a consumerist lifestyle, you’re less consumed with feelings like greed or jealousy.
- End-of-life management. Downsizing is also beneficial for end-of-life management. When a loved one dies, their living relatives are responsible for sorting through their possessions and managing the estate. If an older adult spends time in their life downsizing their possessions and streamlining this process, all their living relatives will have a much easier time with this process.
Having the Initial Conversation
Everything starts with an initial conversation. You can talk to an older adult about downsizing at any time, but it’s especially important to have this conversation if you notice troubling signs about their aging or their ability to manage their own life. For example, if you notice a sudden drop in mobility or if they experience a sudden health event like a stroke, it could be your trigger to have this conversation.
- Remain patient. Not all adults are going to be excited about the idea of downsizing, nor are they going to like talking about the prospect of their own declining health. Remain patient, and don’t force them into something they don’t want to do.
- Talk about the benefits. Focus on the benefits of downsizing. Instead of just insisting that this is what needs to be done, talk about how much their life is going to improve once they have a more easily navigable house and fewer possessions to worry about.
- Be persistent. If the older adult in your life rejects the idea of downsizing initially, don’t give up entirely. Give them some time to think about the concept and bring it up again in a few months to see if they’ve changed their mind.
- Break the project down into chunks. Downsizing is usually a big project, so try to break it down into smaller chunks. For example, you can focus on decluttering and managing possessions first so that moving into a new house is easier. During that process, you can focus on one room at a time.
Downsizing the Home
Downsizing the home itself is usually the biggest project, and it’s also the most important. Finding a house that’s smaller and more conducive to an elderly person’s needs can cause a dramatic shift for the better, ultimately saving money and improving convenience.
The big problem is selling the existing home. Home selling is usually a time-consuming and complex process that people don’t want to manage when they’re dealing with health issues, complicated interpersonal dynamics, and other life complexities.
Thankfully, there’s an easy solution: selling the house as is, for cash. After getting a cash offer, you can sell the home immediately, closing in as little as a few days. You won’t have to worry about cleaning up the house, conducting maintenance, or issuing repairs. Instead, you’ll be selling the house exactly as it currently exists – and you can finalize the transaction in a week or two.
If that approach doesn’t work for you, you can try to sell the house on the open market. If you do, make sure you work with a real estate agent to maximize your visibility and sell the home faster. You’ll also want to price the house favorably for buyers, so you attract plenty of bids.
After making plans for the house, you’ll be ready to start downsizing possessions. There are a few different approaches you can use here, depending on the current state of the house and what your priorities are. For example, if you know decluttering is going to be a huge project, you can start with just one room at a time. If the loved one in your life has large collections of unnecessary items, like old newspapers, you can start with those.
Make sure to keep your loved one involved in the decision-making process and respect their wishes.
After the initial rounds of downsizing, it becomes a matter of remaining minimalistic. Help set expectations with your loved one about their new space, their budget, and the importance of minimizing possessions and clutter. This may take some adjusting, especially if your loved one has a history of accumulating collections, but with your support, it will be much easier to make this dynamic lifestyle shift.
Are you ready to sell a house or help a loved one sell their house? You can get a cash offer in minutes using Light Street Residential. Simply enter your home address, answer a few questions, and you’ll get an immediate cash offer – so try it today!