Reduced stress. Increased productivity. Improved well-being.


As seen in the Dayton Daily News on October 7, 2017.

There is a question people frequently ask me during my seminars.

What do I do if my elderly parents are becoming more dependent on me, yet they won’t let me get rid of anything in their home in preparation for downsizing to a smaller home or senior community?

When I hear this question my heart goes out to both parties. The adult child is often stressed at work, tired from raising their children, and has little time and energy left to help their elderly parents. They need to get things done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Their elderly parents are mentally struggling with the fact they are losing their independence. They don’t want to give up their belongings because they don’t want to accept their life has to change. They want to hold onto what is familiar for as long as possible.

Unfortunately, downsizing your parents’ home has to be done no matter how anyone is feeling. Below are some ideas that may make it easier to get through what you have been dreading.

First of all, does it have to be done right now? You are ultimately responsible for the removal of your parents’ belongings, but do you have to worry about it now? Can it wait until it becomes necessary for them to move? Once they are settled, you can then deal with their remaining belongings without their input.

When you are fully in charge of handling their belongings, I suggest you get rid of things as quickly as possible and get their home on the market. The real estate is where the most value is. The home is also time-consuming for you to upkeep.

Begin by allowing family and friends to look for items they would like to have. Encourage them to take as much as they want.

If there is anything left of value and you want to sell it, contact an auctioneer. They can hold an estate sale, an online auction or take the items to their warehouse to sell. They will take a percentage of the proceeds, but you get rid of things fast.

If there are things of value and you choose to donate, contact Goodwill, AMVETS or The Salvation Army to schedule a pick-up.

For any items that are remaining, a trash hauler such as, 1-800-Got-Junk? or Junk King, can come and dispose of everything else.

You can hire a cleaning company, a contractor to make repairs, and then a realtor to list the property.

If your siblings have been unable or unwilling to help you in this process, deduct these expenses from your parents’ accounts, if you are their POA, or recoup them once their estate is settled.

Another option is to sell the house ‘As Is’ to a house-flipper. You can sell it without removing the leftover stuff, making repairs or cleaning. ‘As Is’ means you get to walk away quickly.

Many of you think you have to be prepared ahead of time, but if you have a choice, wait until your parents are gone from their home permanently. This way your precious time with them is spent in harmony, instead of constant arguments regarding their stuff.

When my column appears next, I will address how to cope if you can’t wait for your parents to vacate before starting the downsizing process.