Decision to downsize: how to help your parents

Written by Caitlin Costello in Moving House on August 21, 2017

Decision to downsize: how to help your parents

We spend our childhood and most of our adult lives being told what to do by our parents. When to go to bed, what to wear, how to mow the lawn. Most of the time, what they tell us is for our own good, and more often than not, completely right. But there comes a time when we need to influence some of our parents’ decisions and actions, such as the decision to downsize, and that time generally comes in the twilight years of their lives.

There will come a time for many of us where it is no longer practical for our parents to be living alone in the family home. Some parents will come to this decision on their own, while others will need a little persuasion.

There are many reasons that people choose to downsize, and many benefits that come with it. But there are also challenges associated with downsizing too, and it’s these that can deter people from taking the plunge.

How to help your parents in the decision to downsize

A serious, mature couple at home sitting in their living room paying bills. They are using a laptop for personal finance and electronic banking. Focus is on the woman, who looks worried.

Talk it out

It’s time to have the chat. Raise your concerns with your parents in a secure and loving environment where no blame is placed. Frame the discussion in a positive light – look for all the benefits that could come out of your parents downsizing. Maybe there will be some spare cash for them to splurge on a holiday, or maybe downsizing could give them the opportunity to move closer to you. Look for a silver lining and lead with it.

Show sensitivity

It’s important to acknowledge the emotion involved in making the decision to downsize. It won’t be one that’s entered into lightly and your parents will likely find it difficult. Be sensitive, and stop to reflect on the good times had in the home. Don’t try to force your parents to rush into anything, let them take their time.

Don’t wait too long

As important as it is to let your parents go at their own pace, don’t wait so long that the decision to downsize is made for them. You don’t want to leave it until one of them falls ill or becomes injured and the relocation has to be done without their help or input.

Be supportive

Whenever it happens, it is going to be a big job. Let your parents know that you will be there to help them with the packing and the moving – just as they may have been for you when you first moved out of home.

Get involved

Sometimes the hardest thing is knowing where to start. Moving house for anyone is a long and time consuming activity. Help your parents to come up with a plan and work with them to get through it. Tip: start with a big decluttering session so you have less things to transport!

The task of downsizing can be a daunting one, so help your parents through it so they know they have your support every step of the way.