This is an ongoing series of posts by Dr. Ann Meyerson about assisting clients through a real estate transition. Dr. Meyerson specializes in senior transition, but has been doing work recently on clients with hoarding issues. Read Ann’s other posts here.
It is a beautiful experience to work with families that involve everyone in helping with transition for an elder family member. In the past, many seniors moved in with their adult children when living alone became too difficult for them. With increasing relocation and mobility for careers and other economic reasons, the extended family now has greater distances between family members. Today, many older seniors are isolated, suffer from loneliness and may no longer be physically or mentally able to live completely on their own. The savvy real estate agent can assist by being knowledgeable and guiding those involved to the best resources.
Be involved: As a realtor and transition counselor, I encourage the involvement with as many family members as possible. Of course, there has to be someone designated as ‘the point person in charge’ but all can contribute. Relocating may include selling the current home and decision-making regarding the next residence. While most decisions include the adult relatives, the younger family members should also pitch in. Helping with the packing, participating in the move itself and communication are all important.
Whether locally or from a distance, discussion of belongings, family memorabilia and even clothing can be had with all. When Grandma has her hand-made quilt sent to a granddaughter or an adult child helps Mom and Dad decorate their new residence, the involvement is key. It resonates with a strong message that the continuing relationship is important and is a two way street.
It’s the little things: I remember little things that were so meaningful. When my mother transitioned from Pittsburgh to an independent community in Connecticut, my teenage daughters gladly jumped in to help. The entire family including my niece and nephew helped with the packing and move.
Once settled in her new community, my younger daughter made a shadow box of personal photos to hang by her entrance way and my older daughter regularly accompanied me with our Shih Tzu to visit her. While the transition created some initial adjustment challenges for Mom, the support of the family and the sense of life stage continuation was optimized.
Sharing through generations: One of the greatest benefits of family participation in the transition is the lesson that it passes on to the next generation. My mother, my daughters and I all shared this experience together and it was very meaningful for each of us. I encourage this hands on approach because it provides emotional support for everyone involved. When discussing my own aging with my millennial children, I was rewarded and warmed by my daughter’s comment. She said, “Don’t worry Mommy, Sis and I talked about it; we will always be there if you need us. We were with you when you cared for Grandma and we learned from you.”
Dr. Ann Meyerson is an agent at William Raveis in Westport, Connecticut and specializes in helping seniors and their families during real estate transitions. She has been featured as an industry expert on Channel 12 News and has hosted the Real Estate Forum on Channel 88. Ann shares her professional time between Connecticut and Florida where she is actively involved in Senior Transitions and is affiliated with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®. You can learn more from Dr. Ann Meyerson on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and FourSquare.