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Tough Conversations: 6 Key Markers That It's Time to Downsize

Whether it looks like buying a smaller house or condo, moving in with a loved one, or joining a senior living community, downsizing can be a huge help to seniors. How will you know when it’s time to encourage your aging parents to downsize their home? Here are six signs to watch for, with some helpful notes on how everyone can work through the transition together.

Is There a Safety Issue?

Above all else, we want to make sure our parents are safe in their home. Consider your parents’ mobility and whether their current home is easy for them to navigate. Does the house have stairs that could present a problem? Is it wheelchair accessible? If moving around in the space is getting harder for them, downsizing to a smaller and fully accessible home could be a helpful solution.

Is Upkeep a Concern?

If home maintenance is causing physical, emotional, or financial stress, then it may be time to downsize. Are your parents able to keep up with cleaning the house and maintaining the yard? If they’re paying for cleaning services, is their cost of living sustainable? Downsizing presents an opportunity to save time and money, and it can be a major stress reliever.

Is the Home Too Big?

Years ago, your parents likely used every square inch of their three or four bedroom home – but now, the same home may have features and spaces they simply don’t need. Are there multiple unused rooms in the house? Have the bedrooms become extra storage? Moving to a slightly smaller space could end up being a lot more efficient. On the other hand, if every room in the house gets plenty of use, downsizing may still be well down the road.

Has the Cost Become Too Much?

Managing costs wisely helps us all to enjoy our later years the way we want to. Maybe property taxes have become a burden, or your aging parents recently retired and are adjusting to a new income level. Downsizing can be a helpful way to free up money for them to do what they love, like traveling and meeting up with loved ones who live farther away.

Could Downsizing Help Them Live Where They Want to Live?

Have your aging parents landed in the community where they want to live? If not, you may encourage them to be flexible about space in order to choose the perfect place. Seniors who are willing and able to downsize their home have more options when deciding where exactly they want to go. Buying or renting a smaller space could mean getting closer to loved ones or their favorite activities – and that can be a powerful incentive!

Could Moving Be More Difficult in the Future?

Are there signs that a big move may not be possible if you put it off for too much longer? If your parents are living with a chronic health condition, it makes sense to think of their future selves now. Downsizing while they’re well enough to move could help them avoid an unsuitable living situation later.

For more caregiver resources, plus financial tips and articles on health and wellness, make sure to visit the Ebenezer blog.

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Ebenezer is Minnesota’s largest senior living operator with over 100 years of experience serving older adults. As part of Fairview Health Services, Ebenezer is dedicated to healing, discovering and educating for longer, healthier and meaningful lives. ​

Discrimination is Against the Law. We comply with applicable Federal civil rights laws. We do not discriminate against, exclude or treat people differently because of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex or sexual orientation.

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