Seniors & Aging: Avoiding crisis mode being proactive with downsizing and retirement

Imagine this scenario: As the sole caretaker of your elderly parent, you suddenly receive news that they have been hospitalized. After rushing to the hospital, the doctor tells you that your parent can no longer live on their own. They need a retirement home. Your parent will be discharged from the hospital soon. In that time, you need to find a new home for your parent, figure out all the transition details, and help sell your parent’s house to cover all the expenses.

Overwhelming? The reality is that as parents get older, it becomes harder for them to take care of themselves. Without proper retirement planning, the burden of handling all the responsibility is up to the child, often at the last second.

While services like Lianas offer free and full support to help transition your senior parent into a retirement home, you may regret not addressing senior transition earlier. That is why you should try a proactive approach to minimize the stress of transitioning a loved one.

Here is some retirement advice to having a proactive approach in downsizing and searching for the best retirement home:

1.    Start researching early

Although the idea of parents moving into a retirement home may seem far in the distance, your parents may have already reached their retirement age. It is always helpful to have resources in mind when you ultimately need to take these steps. This includes finding transition support companies like Lianas that specialize in senior transitions and can give you advice on what decisions to make. Any big problems that may arise won’t be as daunting if you have a service planned and ready to help.

2. Downsizing (Smartsizing) and Planning - It’s never too early to start

Packing up dear possessions, selling the family home, and downsizing to a new place seems impossible in a short period of time. But with small steps early on, you can minimize a lot of stress.  That’s why we like to refer to it as “smartsizing”.

Tip: Make a smartsizing home checklist for all the big tasks and break them down to smaller, do-able things you can take on.

Smartsizing stuff: Start by decluttering in the rooms used the least, like basements or guest bedrooms. A helpful way to organize possessions is to sort them by where they should go: keep, give to family, donate, or sell. Keep in mind that elderly smartsizing can be tricky, as there are lots of keepsakes and memories to go through. That is why starting earlier than later is key!

Smartsizing home: Looking into smartsizing early means more time to find the best place for your parents. By encouraging your parents to start moving into a smaller home or retirement residence, it means that selling the family home can go towards supporting your parents when they smartsize. It also allows a smoother transition from a smaller home into an elder care residence. Smartsizing the home may be hard, but planning means you avoid the last minute real estate ordeal. You may need help smartsizing your home, so look into services that specialize in senior transition downsizing.

Want more downsizing and smartsizing tips? Check out this article for more advice for retirement downsizing.

3. Talk to your parents about the retirement planning steps

While reading this article you may be thinking of all the things you need to do. But what happens if your parents simply refuse any help? You may know your parents best, but it’s a good idea to talk to them about considering retirement homes. After all, they are the ones who will be living there.

Planning sooner than later with your parents lets you have more control over retirement home choice for a smoother adjustment process.  Here are examples of important family conversations to go over. While senior living residences are becoming more popular it may take some time to convince your parents. Your parents may have a negative view of retirement homes, which is why having a headstart with touring retirement homes can change their mind. With an early start, you can find a better match for your parents, especially with some retirement homes having long waiting lists.

What to Take Away

It’s true that helping a loved one transition into a senior home may be difficult. However, it is best to take the time to make sure they are getting the care they deserve. Try specialized services that understand how difficult it can be and will guide you through the tough time.

Matt Del Vecchio is a Certified Professional Consultant on Aging.  He is the owner of Lianas Services Retirement Home Search and Senior Transition Support which helps families through senior transition. He can be reached at, or call 1-877-450-3365 or 514-622-8074.

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