If having a conversation with your parents about downsizing is on your mind, it can be hard to know where to start. But there are lots of ways to open the discussion!
1. Ask about a friend or family member who has had a recent health crisis, accident or move.
Often people approaching time for a change are following events of their friends and peers and thinking about them too. By raising the issue, you may find your loved one pours out a whole conversation around their own emotions that will make a natural segue into the subject.
2. Ask if they've seen or heard about any new housing or retirement developments.
In today’s marketplace new developments are well advertised and there are many excellent choices for senior downsizing that did not exist even 10 years ago. Most places today offer fully independent living. Your parents may be interested in “looking” but have not mustered the courage to tour any of the options. A quick discussion opening the topic will often convince Mom and/or Dad to “have a look”.
3. Ask how they're managing around the house.
In our experience, people who should be thinking about downsizing are well aware of how much harder it is becoming to manage things like lawn, snow, interior maintenance or even reaching things high up in the cupboards. Asking the question often brings out how they’ve been feeling already.
4. Ask if the cost of house maintenance has changed in the past few years.
Often, people manage the ongoing chore burden by hiring third parties. This can be a good solution for a while, but sometimes leads to budget or cash flow strain that they would love to verbalise when given the chance.
5. Gently point out the deficiencies that you see in your parents home.
Things that used to be tidy and taken care of that have now been let go. The longer things are let go, the bigger problems they will become in a home inspection when your parents decide to sell their home. These ongoing deficiencies will diminish the value of the home over time and most times your parents don’t see them. This will make efficiently pricing the home more challenging when they choose to sell their home and need an efficient sale process.