When it comes time for your parents to downsize you may be called upon to be a financial advisor, a counselor, a part-time real estate agent and all sorts of professions that you've never been trained for! This can be an emotionally charged time for the whole family and your parents may need quite a bit of assistance from their adult children to get through it. It's times like these where you need to put on your patience and understanding hat in order to get through to the other side.
Call in the professionals
The first thing that you need to do to help your parents with their move is call in the professionals that they will need and meet them along with your parents. For example, you'll need an experienced real estate agent that you can trust and count on to help them find a new place of residence. When you're asked about different houses or condos and your opinion on them you can always direct the conversation another way and ask your parents, "What did the real estate agent think of it?" This will take some of the pressure off of you and put it back onto the shoulders of the real estate agent where it should be.
As a counselor you just need to be there to help your parents get through this situation without a lot of trauma. The best thing to do is to let them know that you'll be available for them at certain times but that you won't be able to take their calls or visits at others. This lets them know that you are willing to work with them but also reminds them that you have your own life to lead and can't give up everything to help with this downsizing effort.
Saying goodbye to the home
This is the part of the downsizing that you don't want to put a lot of attention on. This is where all the emotions can run rampant. Instead of looking back at the memories and the house you'll need to get your parents’ attention diverted and looking forward to the new experiences they will have in their new place. When it is time to finally leave the house a simple "goodbye" should be done and then walk away from it. Your parents don't need to have a lot of emotional drama at this stage in their lives and you can help them stay away from it.
Helping with the move
It would be extremely thoughtful of you to be by your parents’ side on the day of the move if you live nearby. This is the day where they can use you the most and it will mean a lot to them that you took the time to be with them through this emotional journey. After all, your parents have probably done a lot for you in their lifetime and deserve one day where you put all else aside out of love and not just duty.