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Ready to Have the Downsizing Talk With Your Parents? Here’s How.

Friday March 6, 2020


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Are your parents having trouble getting around their house? Do you worry that one of them might fall or have an accident? Perhaps they’re finding it more difficult to perform day-to-day chores.

If this sounds familiar, it may be time for your mom and dad to start thinking about downsizing. Moving into a smaller space can provide them with a safer, lower-maintenance lifestyle—and help ensure that their retirement dollars go further. That said, having “the talk” will likely be nerve-racking. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to make it easier.

Here are five tips for having a successful downsizing talk with your parents…

Ease into it 

Nobody wants to be told what to do, especially when it comes to a life-changing decision. Fortunately, you can bring up the idea of downsizing without coming across as forceful. The key is to introduce the idea slowly.

If you’ve noticed that your parents aren’t taking care of their home like they used to, you can mention it—gently. There’s nothing wrong with noting how big the house is, and how much time it must take to maintain it. When you’re ready to address the need to downsize directly, your past talks will likely make mom and dad more receptive to the idea.

Offer to help

If your parents have been in their home for many years, it may be especially difficult for them to think about moving. That’s why it’s so important to honour the time they’ve spent there. Start by looking at old photographs and talking about shared memories. 

From there, you can start to tackle the decluttering process. Even if your parents are in no rush to put their home on the market, you can help them take the first steps by decluttering as a family. You may be surprised by how much fun it is to spend a weekend finding hidden treasures in closets and drawers.

Present options 

Before you sit down to have the talk, do your research. Look for appropriate townhomes, condos, or assisted living communities in the area. You’ll want to keep an eye out for places that offer advantages their house doesn’t—like a location they might like better. A local real estate agent can help you do some comparison shopping.

When it’s time to discuss available options, don’t bombard your parents with information. Tell them you wanted to get a sense of what’s out there, and let them know that you’d love to share what you’ve discovered. 

Highlight the positive 

While downsizing can be painful, it usually comes with some pretty significant benefits. If your parents move to a condo, there will be no more shovelling snow or raking leaves. If the place they choose is affordable, it will mean more money to spend on travel and other experiences they might enjoy. Be sure to highlight these advantages when you talk.

The truth is, routine can make it difficult to imagine living differently. When you’re talking to your parents about downsizing, get them to think about a new (and exciting) lifestyle. It could go a long way towards getting them on board. 

Make a plan 

The more prepared you are, the more likely it is that your discussion will go well. If you have siblings, you may want to gather them together to make sure you’re all on the same page. Whether you want to approach your parents as a group or you’re simply looking to coordinate logistics, this is the time to do it.

One of the most important steps you’ll want to take is thinking through the objections your parents might raise, and getting ready to respond. While having the downsizing talk probably won’t be easy, ensuring you’re prepared will set you up for success. All it takes is some research, forethought, and careful planning!

Ready to start exploring your parents’ downsizing options? Get in touch—we’d love to help them find the perfect smaller space!