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Senior Living Communities:
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Helping Parents With The Transition
While these concerns are usually much less of a challenge if your Mom is already living in a condominium or townhome, they will always exist in some form or fashion. At Parc Communities, we have found those families that are most proactive in addressing the transitional issues are invariably the ones which are most satisfied. The following are a number of our most recommended strategies:
A. It is never too early to begin reminding Mom how comfortable she will be when she is able to shed the responsibilities of home ownership. What most families attempt to do is to focus on those two or three areas of independent senior living that are most likely to be a real issue in their Mom’s life. Whether it is the fact that she will meet new friends, will have somebody else preparing her meals, will not have to deal with maintenance, or will soon be getting into a regular exercise program, the family should continually reinforce those few areas of importance that are most relevant in their family.
The very best way to get your Mom over the anxiety associated with leaving her home is to focus your efforts on expediting the process. As long as you are able to establish clear goals and get her to buy into the program, you will ensure that she does not have time to develop "Buyer’s Remorse.” As emphasized in each of our previous "For Boomers Only” letters, delay is always your family’s worst enemy.
B. Approximately half of our residents wait until they sell their current home before moving into a Parc community. The other half move into the community, then let their family and real estate agents deal with the issues surrounding the sale of their home. To a person, those who move first into the community are the most satisfied. The reasons are simple:
They are able to physically distance themselves from the unpleasantness associated with the selling process.
They are able to more effectively delegate the transitional responsibilities to the family members and professionals.
C. The whole issue of "downsizing” is a prominent concern for your loved one, but it shouldn’t be. Numerous studies support the reality that people actually become more comfortable with less and less space as they grow older. Our Parc Communities’ residents, most of whom have moved form large homes, will readily attest to this fact. Rather than being defensive about "downsizing,” your family must accentuate all of the benefits of living in a cozier and more manageable space.
One of the greatest benefits attributable to moving into a Parc community before selling the existing home is what we jokingly refer to as "junk management.” The strategy is elegant in its simplicity:
Mom selects the apartment home that is best suited for her needs.
Mom and her "Boomer” children then select only those items in Mom’s existing home that are important enough to move into her Parc Communities home.
The family decorates Mom’s new home with important pieces and accessories.
Mom moves into her new home at a Parc community and is surrounded by furnishings that she has grown to cherish.
Mom brings only clothes, shoes, etc. that she routinely wears.
Everything left in the old home remains in place until the home is sold.
By the time the old home sells, Mom doesn’t have the slightest thought about all of that old "junk.” The kids can now do with the "junk” as they please.