Obstacles Encountered in Downsizing

By Michael Edlen
Special to the Palisades News

The following are some obstacles that can stand in the way of making a transition to a new living situation:

  • Becoming overwhelmed by actions required to sell and move.
  • Concerns about making a wrong and irreversible decision.
  • Concerns about the loss of familiar surroundings and routines.
  • Concerns about the loss of independence, control and privacy.
  • An emotional attachment to the home.
  • An attachment to the home by adult children.
  • Wishing to hold on to the property so the family can inherit it.
  • Physical or cognitive limitations presenting challenges to moving.
  • Concerns that the property needs too much work to sell at a good price.

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of downsizing for most people is the process of sorting and eliminating decades of accumulation of things. Even for those who are looking forward to a new style of life, just thinking about how to get through the process can be intimidating.

Eventually, however, the time may come when health and safety risks create the need for either full-time assistance or moving to a more appropriate living situation.

It may be easier to make a transition in lifestyle when events are not in any critical stage and while there is more energy and ability to tackle the actions necessary to moving. However, even when such a decision is made, there may still be various physical and emotional challenges that delay making such a change.

There are various ways that family members and friends can help seniors when making a lifestyle transition becomes necessary. Family members can provide loving support and encouragement while allowing the senior to remain in control of the process as much as possible.

If family members are too far away or unable to provide much help due to their own family needs, there are many people available who are experienced in organizing and getting ready for a move. They can provide a wide range of services that can take a great deal of the physical and emotional energy off the shoulders of the senior.

If a real estate professional is consulted, he/she should provide an empathetic and supportive level of service. Being mindful of the unique challenges and conditions that make the transition more difficult than with younger generations is crucial. An agent should understand that even relatively minor issues may look insurmountable from the perspective of the senior homeowner. It can be enormously helpful for an agent to offer reassurance that the perceived difficulties and challenges of making the move do have solutions. Experienced real estate agents will be able to provide information about resources, services and time-tested experts who are available to assist in process of planning and executing downsizing and a possible move. The agent can also help in anticipating what timing and sequencing will make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Michael Edlen has been a consultant to seniors for many years, and his office is glad to provide copies of previous articles that may be helpful to the senior community. Call: (310) 230-7373 or email: Michael@MichaelEdlen.com. 

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