The currently hot real estate market has many people considering selling and downsizing or relocating to capitalize on the sharp uptick in recent housing prices that, combined with low inventory, has led to bidding wars. Many seniors who have been considering a move into a retirement community or assisted living may be feeling pressured to sell the family home while prices stay high. But the process must be handled carefully – many seniors have lived in their home for decades and even if it is no longer safe for them, the decision can be extremely difficult and emotional.
Although an adult child may have the legal ability to sell their aging parent’s home with a power of attorney or guardianship, seniors may have difficulty admitting they are no longer able to function alone. Even if they have been an assisted living resident for some time, perhaps because of an injury or illness, it’s common for elderly adults to hold out hope they will be able to return home at some point. Memory problems or dementia also pose a challenge for families trying to put their parent’s home on the market. Differing opinions and complex emotions can lead to conflict.
Easing the Selling Process for Seniors
Elderly adults, even with a diagnosis of dementia who can clearly no longer function alone in the family home still deserve to be treated with patience and respect. A designated Seniors Real Estate Specialist that has connections to professionals to support a move, coordinate an estate sale, or hire packers can lift the burden on families. A seniors move manager is trained to smooth the transition and can help ease some of the stress involved in such a move.
Adult children can help their parents with the transition by focusing on the positive aspects of the move including greater social interaction, activities, and the amenities provided. It takes time and patience to sort through a lifetime of belongings, but it’s important that elderly parents are involved as much as possible in the process and that a few cherished items that make a new residence feel like home are saved. A favorite chair, a few pieces of artwork, a knitted throw, and a few knick-knacks can help to recreate a sense of comfort and familiarity that puts seniors more at ease in their new surroundings.
The process of selling an elderly parent’s house is likely to cause some stress and possibly even legal issues. A reputable elder law attorney can help families with the process, especially in cases of a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia. Families need to establish a realistic timeline, usually 8-10 weeks, to relocate a senior into a new residence and manage the decluttering, and staging of the home. In some situations, a bridge loan may be facilitated by senior living communities that have developed partnerships with financial institutions.
Read more about how to sell your parent’s home by following this link to Sun Life’s Help for Homeowners page.