Our family homes are filled with memories, laughter and, in many cases, lots and lots of stuff! If your aging loved one is at that point in life when downsizing is the next step – they may not want to hear or discuss it. Talking with anyone about moving out of their home may be difficult and will require preparation. To begin, start with putting a positive outlook on the situation by eliminating the word downsizing and instead calling it the trendy, new title – rightsizing. Use the tips below to learn how to effectively talk about rightsizing with your loved one.
Tips on Communicating About Downsizing (Rightsizing)
To have a healthy and productive conversation about rightsizing, follow the steps below:
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
You need be empathetic and consider what your loved one is going through. Imagine someone talking to you about rightsizing your home – how would you feel? How would you react? Use this mental pregame to prepare for a hard conversation. Be conscious of the emotional response this topic can create. You should recognize that rightsizing can be tiring, stressful, and is often perceived as giving into age.
Prepare the Why
Help your loved one recognize why they should rightsize by preparing your reasons in advance. There are many reasons and it helps to be open and honest about valid concerns and possibilities. Some of the reasons can include:
- Being closer to family, if possible
- Saving money on a smaller property
- Reduction of stress by caring for smaller home
- The opportunity to create new memories
- The chance to increase their social life
Ask What Concerns They Have
In any difficult conversation, it’s most important to listen. You need to hear and acknowledge people’s fears and concerns upfront before discussing a plan of action. Refer back to the positives of the move and address each fear or concern with consideration, empathy, and honesty. This is not a sales pitch but engaging a loved one to help them face a difficult aspect of aging.
Keep the Conversation Going
The first conversation may be one of many on the subject of rightsizing and that is okay. You may need to have repeated discussions and your loved one may need to take some time to warm to the idea. They may even need to hear the benefits of and reasons for rightsizing repeatedly, in order to drive the message home. It may take some time before a decision is made to rightsize.
To successfully engage your loved one in the conversation to rightsize, use the suggested tips above. Be honest and listen to your loved one. Don’t be afraid to focus on the positives and negatives of moving. Acknowledge that change is hard but emphasize the benefits – Good Luck.