Real Estate: Downsizing with Style and Grace: Part Three

Senior couple meeting with agentThe Reality of “Rightsizing”

There are times when “Downsizing or Rightsizing” becomes a must and not an option. Sadly, the topic is often controversial with the person needing to “Rightsize”. The process means a lack of independence, and many will fight any suggestion to move to a more accommodating living space.

We live in a City where there are very few spaces, other than apartments, that can allow one to live on one floor. Bungalows only exist in certain areas and those are still mostly accessible by climbing stairs. Staying in your home also means having to maintain gardens, snow removal, and routine maintenance.

My guiding rule when I counsel clients needing to move is “Is this the safest place for you to live?”

In Ontario we have “Community Care Access Workers”  who can help you and your family make these decisions. They are trained professionals who can help you function in your own home for as long as possible and provide the guidance needed when it is time to leave. Sadly…most of us have a tendency to fight and rage against change and family becomes the target for that rage.

Until she passed a few years ago, my brother and I became the target of my Mom’s frustration as her independence diminished. We took different tactics: My brother was the realist and would point-blank tell my mom that she was in no physical shape to fly from Toronto to Edmonton for a Family event. That approach set my mom off in a rage…she was not interested in dealing with a point-blank “NO”.

My approach, wanting to avoid the argument, was to say that “YES”, I would take her from Toronto to Edmonton. Yes, we would have to drive out to the Airport. Yes, we would have to wait in a waiting room for at least an hour at the Airport. Yes, we would have to sit on the Airplane for almost four and a half hours. Yes, we would…At this point my mom would look at me, laugh and say…”I know that I can’t go…I just like to talk about it”. That would be the end of the discussion.

Restricting independence is a huge issue for everyone. However, staying in a home that is unsafe is worse.
Rather than telling someone they can no longer live in their own home you might try to asking how they would manage if something unforeseen happened. Go through the scenario as I did and if they still are firm, then you must do everything you can to make the home safe.

Sometimes though you must make a unilateral decision in the interest of safety…if so, best of luck. That can be one of the most lonely and painful decisions you will ever make.

For more information:

Real Estate: Downsizing with Style and Grace: Part Two

Real Estate: Downsizing with Style and Grace: Part One

4 Responses

  1. shari hasler

    RICHARD would you ever buy a house that had asbestos
    on the boiler>>?? I know that this does not have anything to do with this article…would it bring the
    price of the house down if you had it removed..

  2. Richard Silver Post author

    I would check with Carson Dunlop to be sure but there are professional companies that do the removal. I would hire someone who is properly equipped to handle that.
    My understanding is that there is a problem with disturbing the asbestos. If it is there and can be made secure, it is not an issue. It is an issue when you remove it and the particals become airborne.

    I would suggest that if the furnace is covered with asbestos it is old and hence the efficiency would be poor. You would do best to replace it.

  3. Barbara Izzard Thynne

    I couldn’t agree more with your comments, Richard, as a Realtor myself, or as a adult dealing with aging parents and in-laws. Safety first all the way. A trip or a fall can have permanent life altering consequences if it does not prove fatal.

    I hope we are more flexible and interested in planning for this tha our parents’generation…
    quality of life can depend on it. Instruct your next of kin to start the dialogue early and often to ensure your needs and wishes are met.

    Doctors and CCAS workers are terrifically helpful in assessing needs, providing in home support, and taking some of the heat off family members for the decisions that need to be made.

  4. Tricia Smolkovic

    Hi Richard, Great article, I wish there was a way of getting this information out to more people. In my experience as a Home Stager, I still find that families move away, don’t see their parents for such a long time, and when the time actually comes to downsizing,or parents pass on, they are shocked at the amount of stuff collected over the years. Lost amongst the memories of the past, and haven’t got a clue how to deal with the amount of items. It’s a great idea if the children can get together earlier, to start going through the items with their parents,before it’s too late. very time consuming, but sooooo worth it. I just finished going through a home where there were items left from the 1940’s, you can imagine how much stuff there was, and how sad to see photo’s,books,baby bonnets,awards,art work,jewellery, things that possibly could have been passed on. Parents all need the opportunity to pass something on, it helps them to let go, and move on to the next phase in their life. Whether you keep it or not, it really doesn’t matter, what matters is the way they feel at that moment they give it to you, that’s the most important part of letting go. Thanks for this article…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *