Advice Independent Living, Assisted Living

How Can We Persuade My Parents to Consider Downsizing?

Talking with a loved one about moving to a more manageable home.

Daughter and father talking

I need advice on convincing my parents to downsize.

My parents have lived in their home for 47 years. It is a very large house, and much of the space is rarely used anymore. While it is all neatly arranged, every room, closet and drawer is packed full of “stuff.”

Over the past year, both of my parents have had serious medical issues. Neither of them can safely navigate the stairs to the second floor or to the basement where the laundry room is located any longer.

Recently, my brother and I have been trying to convince them to downsize for years. But they always say they can’t fit everything they have in to a senior living community or even a condo. I believe the real issue is that they are afraid moving will somehow require them to give up their independence.

Now that they are both having health struggles, I think it is time to get serious about de-cluttering and clearing out their old house.

Do you have any advice that might help us figure out how to convince them to consider making a move and how should we get started?



The Struggle to Help an Aging Loved One Downsize

Dear Donna,

Every week, adult children share similar scenarios with us! While downsizing might seem like an obvious transition to you, your parents likely view it as a reluctant next chapter in life.

Your parents are already living in a much smaller space than they realize, unable to access two full floors of their home. However, it’s important to let them come to this conclusion on their own. Spring could be an ideal time to address this issue. You might suggest to your parents that you and your brother want to assist them with spring cleaning in the rooms they can’t access.

Here’s some advice to help you get started.

Simplify Organizing and Sorting

Perhaps, you can start by asking your parents if they would permit you and your brother to box things up in the rooms they can’t access and bring everything downstairs for them to sort. As you assist them in working through the boxes, cleaning out each room as you proceed, your parents might begin to realize how few things they truly use or need, and how little space they require. Decluttering and organizing can be a very freeing exercise.

Have an Honest Conversation

Then it might be easier to sit down and have an honest conversation with your parents about their situation. If you are correct in assuming they are fearful of losing their independence, you may be able to help them see the shortcomings in their current living environment.

These are sensitive subjects, and your perspectives and opinions may differ. Be prepared and have a plan for how you will handle these conversations with respect and dignity.

Their Current Home May be Too Much To Manage

For example, since their laundry room is in the basement and neither of them can manage stairs, who is doing their laundry for them? How are the rooms on the upper and lower floors of the home being cleaned and maintained? Would they know if a window was broken or if there was a leak in plumbing?  A move to a single story home, such as a condominium or a senior living apartment or villa, can put your parents back in control of their environment.

Consider the Financial Aspects

Many families have discovered that approaching the issue from a financial perspective can be helpful. Even if your parents have paid off their mortgage, maintaining a large home can significantly impact a senior’s budget. All that wasted space in their home results in higher utility bills, increased taxes, a larger property insurance bill, and more maintenance expenses.

If your parents are paying for assistance with laundry, grocery shopping, and housekeeping, those expenses can quickly accumulate. Moving to a senior living community through downsizing liberates older adults from the burdens of home ownership.

Lastly, I suggest progressing with downsizing according to your parents’ timeline. While it may be slower than the pace you would prefer, it’s essential for them to feel in control of their lives.

Explore all the living possibilities available to you at The Commons.

At the Commons, we have a variety of living options to suit your lifestyle. Choose from independent cottage homes or apartment homes, all of which can be renovated to your taste.

Independent Living, Assisted Living
Senior Living Tips, Making the Move, Downsizing
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