How to Help Your Senior Parents Downsize


As your parents grow older, you may notice that they don’t need as much space as they have in their current home. Sometimes too much space can pose a safety risk because chances are their home was designed for a younger family. If this is the case, it may be time for your parents to downsize to a home that is more suitable for their needs. It is a complicated and emotional process for a senior to leave the home that they’ve spent much of their life in, but with your help, they can realize that this is the best decision they could make. Here are a few tips to consider when helping your parents downsize.


Be compassionate


Once you have gotten the okay from your parents to downsize, it is all too easy to become distracted by the many details of the moving process while shutting out their feelings and opinions. Keep in mind that this was a difficult decision for your parents to accept and right now, they need your support more than anything. Allow them to have a say in what belongings will be kept or discarded before the move and also allow them time to reminisce or grieve as they pack their things. Letting them express how they feel can help them cope, but it is important that you do not let them dwell in those emotions. Be a shoulder to lean on but also give them reasons to be excited and look forward to moving into their new home. Reinforce the positives; perhaps it’s closer to you and your family or near a nice park where they could take their morning walk. Giving them reasons to be happy about the move will make the transition smoother for all parties involved.


Hire movers


Although it is important to have your parents be a part of the moving process, you will need to hire movers because lifting and moving heavy boxes poses a health and safety risk for older adults. There are plenty of options for moving companies, so be sure to do your research, read reviews, and compare prices. The average cost of hiring movers is $25 an hour per man.


Some movers may construct a customized floor plan for the new home so your parents will be able to visualize where their belongings will fit. If your parents have special medical equipment or supplies, talk to the movers about ensuring that everything stays accessible and undamaged during the move. Arrange for any unwanted goods to be disposed of by way of estate sale, consignment, buyout, or donation.


Make the new place feel like home


The best way you can ease your parents into their new home is to make it feel as familiar as possible. This is a key factor when relocating older adults, so be sure the first few belongings that are unpacked are some of their favorite things. Hang portraits on the walls and drape their favorite throw blanket over the couch. Keep in mind that the more it looks like home, the easier the emotional transition will be for them.


You’ll also need to take into account whether their new home needs any modifications so that they can age in place. This can include anything from adding grab bars or non-slip flooring to doing a full-scale kitchen or bathroom remodel. Just remember that costs can add up quickly (e.g., a bathroom remodel in nearby Denver can cost up to $20,000), so make sure that any modifications are within their budget


Downsizing may be met with some resistance by your parents, but as long as you manage to keep the process simple and give them as much support as they need, they will begin to embrace the next phase in their journey of life.

Home Improvement Projects That Need Extra Help

electrician-1080554_960_720Every home eventually requires repairs. For whatever reason you’re looking into home improvement, it’s sometimes necessary to seek professional help. Adding crown molding or building a shelf is one thing, but when you’re looking to alter plumbing or electrical work, it’s best to hire help. Take a look at some of the ways an expert might benefit your plans for home makeovers and maintenance.


Accessibility Modifications


There are plenty of reasons to make your house more accessible. You or a family member may need expanded access or assistance, or you may simply want to make your home more inclusive if you plan on putting it on the market. However, such modifications often need a contractor to be done safely and properly. Adding extra-wide doorways to accommodate wheelchairs, ramps or entrance ways with no steps, and handrails on stairs and in restrooms are all best done by professionals. You may want to convert your shower to offer wheelchair accessibility, which may require complex work. As a good deal of the alterations will be done in the bathroom, kitchen, or bedrooms, it’s best practice to have an expert on hand to avoid broken pipes, flooding, or the unnecessary damaging of walls.


Outside Help


If you want to clean and maintain the outside of your home, there are numerous things you can do yourself. You can use a pressure washer on your walls and windows to remove dirt and grime safely, and even to clean your driveway. While you may run the risk of scratching your paint, no permanent damage will be done to your home. However, once you think about cleaning your gutters, you may want to hire the help of a professional. Not only will they have the right tools and make sure no leaves or debris remain blocking your drains, they are trained and less likely to injure themselves when working at great heights. Additionally, regular maintenance can prevent animals and insects from nesting in your gutters themselves.


Installing a Fence


There are various benefits to fencing your home. Fences offer extra privacy and security against a pet escaping. They also provide an additional layer of protection against burglary or home invasion. Professional help can be advantageous for a project of this complexity, especially if your fencing extends underground. When installing or repairing a fence, you may be surprised to learn that a contractor is often required. Not only will you need to make sure that your yard is properly fenced, but there may be restrictions you are unaware of. For instance, some cities have height limitations on fences, and a contractor will be aware of these and ensure that there are no city policy violations.


Help with Wiring


This is another area where you do not want to risk injury or property damage if you’re inexperienced with home modification. Even if you successfully get wiring working properly, you may accidentally create a fire hazard without being aware of it. You may overload your circuits, and end up creating an expensive problem that could have been avoided if you’d used a professional. There is the possibility of injuring yourself during the process, too, without having the proper equipment or training of an expert. While hiring a professional is an added expense, it is worth it to protect both your health and your home.


It’s good to keep up to date on your home’s maintenance and to invest in worthwhile improvements. However, no matter how confident we are in ourselves, it’s always important to be certain of what we’re doing, especially when it involves wiring, plumbing or great heights. Professionals have tools we don’t and knowledge gained over years of work. Do some things yourself, but know when it’s best to get an expert’s help.