This article shares advice for adult children who may have noticed over the holiday period that their parents are ready to downsize. It can be a tricky time if they are emotionally connected to their home and don’t understand the benefits of switching to a smaller place or retirement village.
Downsizing co-founders Amanda and Catherine had this experience themselves, which is why they created and launched their online platform in the first place. Read about their stories and take a look at some advice to kick-start the downsizing process for senior parents.
Catherine and Amanda’s story
Downsizing.com.au was created when sisters-in-law Catherine and Amanda decided to help their retiree parents to move on from the family home. At the time, it wasn’t an easy or a pleasant experience and there was very little information available online. Amanda and Catherine spoke to other families and realised a lot of people were facing similar problems, with a lack of unbiased information about moving into a retirement village, handling finances and maximising enjoyment during this stage of life.
The lack of information inspired Amanda and Catherine to create seniorshousingonline.com.au, which has since morphed into the Downsizing website. The online destination has now become Australia’s leading over 50s & retirement property portal, serving over 2 million visitors per year.
The Downsizing website is free to access for retirees and their families, and seeks to help people aged 50 and over, and their friends and relatives, to find retirement living accommodation, aged care residences and in-home care services. It also helps by sharing important advice for retirees and their family members.
What are the signs your loved ones may need to downsize?
If you noticed any of the following when you visited parents or relatives over the Christmas break, it may be time to start your search for a new place on downsizing.com.au:
- Cleanliness: If your relative or loved one’s home is generally grubby and untidy, with unvacuumed floors and mess and clutter around the place, this may be a sign that they are struggling to maintain their home. This will be especially apparent if your loved one is usually diligent in their cleaning routines.
- Difficulty getting around: Is your loved one struggling with stairs, opening drawers and cupboards or getting in and out of their chair? They may be at risk of a fall. While you are in the process of searching for a new place, you might want to look into ordering a personal alarm they can wear around their neck or wrist; they can press a button to call for help.
- Complaints: They may not explicitly state that they are ready to move, but if your loved one is complaining about the cost of electricity or maintenance, then this might be a good point to bring up to encourage them to move to a smaller home.
- Isolation: Relocating to a retirement community can give seniors a whole new lease on life. If they complain about being lonely, a change can make a big difference.
Talking to your loved one
Suggesting to your loved one that it may be time to downsize can be tricky. Many older Australians are hesitant to leave the home they have loved for years and, in many cases, the home in which they raised their children.
Change can feel daunting so one idea is to focus on the positive. Have a look at listings on the Downsizing website so your parent/s can see all the lovely options available. Talk about what it might be like to have no stairs, freedom from constant maintenance worries and lower home operating costs.
You may also want to loop in the family accountant and GP, who will back up your arguments for a less costly, low stress new chapter.
Our Founders Amanda and Catherine drew from personal experience to create an online destination designed for downsizers and their families. Visit the website for information about the logistics required with downsizing, and to review the many options for a change in lifestyle that can be positive for all involved.
IMPORTANT: Any tips or advice contained in this article are general in nature and you should always seek professional advice from expert advisers about your individual situation before making significant financial decisions.