If you have an aging loved one you are trying to care for, you should seek help from an experienced elder law attorney sensitive to the special needs of older clients and their families to assist you with implementing a plan to support your loved one as their future unfolds. Here are some tips on how to start the conversation:
- It’s important to emphasize in this relocation is not downsizing, rather it’s “resizing” where they . will start of the next chapter in their lives in a new home. It’s the chance for a new beginning.
- Always, accentuate the positive. The discussion should focus on what will be gained with their move rather than what they are losing.
- Keep in mind that everyone involved in this process is under tremendous stress. Your ability to stay calm and organized is a big source of support.
- Take more time than you need. As you help your loved ones “resize” to a smaller space, start ahead of time and allow them time to go through their things to decide what belongings they want and which ones they need. While it is true that possessions in the “need” category should take priority over those they “want”, it’s equally important to let your loved ones take most of what they want, no matter how impractical. Remember, they are not leaving the planet, so if an important item is overlooked, replace it – or, better yet, retrieve it from where you stored it knowing that it would be needed.
- Take the words, “I told you so” out of your vocabulary.
- Finally, it’s important to get a floor plan of the new home to help determine what furniture they’ll be able to take with them. To the extent possible, place the blame on the elusive 'they: “Oh, Mom, they wouldn't let us have that in your new home. Let’s give it to Suzie Q, she’ll love it.” That’s an important tool that you shouldn't overlook. Most seniors love the idea of giving, especially if it comes with a ‘thank you’ in the form of a visit or an 'old-fashion' letter. Again, it's your ability to emphasize the 'giving' aspects of this move rather than the 'losing' that is going to make this difficult transition a success.
Reference: capecod.com (July 7, 2016) “5 Tips for Seniors Planning a Move: Think ‘Resizing’ Not ‘Downsizing’”