13 January 2020 5 min read

Article written by Belinda Woolrych - Downsizing Expert, Property Makeover Specialist, Author of ‘Rightsize Your Home’.

I am constantly reminded of the importance of a support team when the rightsizing scenario arises. To the loved ones, the friends, the neighbours and the colleagues, your role in helping someone on this journey is invaluable.

In my book Rightsize Your Home I emphasise the importance of “the rock” (or rocks) in this scene. People’s perceptions of a significant move might be embellished but to them they are real. Having people who support them, who will listen and can offer advice, is crucial. 

Every Rightsizer needs a team. Your help and guidance is critical in this process. What’s more, I am sure your support is hugely appreciated. 

Those experiencing the transition and looking to find a more appropriate living arrangement may not be feeling positive. Emotions are heightened at this time. This is all new to them and the emotional consequences should not be downplayed. 

But there comes a time when the decision to move or relocate must be made for a loved one, if only for their safety and well-being. This may be a difficult period. It’s a refreshing dynamic for all concerned to know that this is about adults respecting adults. No-one is the child here. 

Respect is key. Respect ... it’s easy to give and wonderful to receive. 

Before anything, your Empty Nester will need to invest in some sound financial advice from a professional who specialises in retirement. 

In fact, there may be several parts of this transition which you do not understand or that you feel are unnecessary. You need to be alert to make sure you are truly listening to all concerns. If there are some things you are not quite sure about, contact a professional and clear it up. 

Your Downsizer may be advised not to bother preparing their home in any way because “it will be knocked down anyway”. However, it is worth getting a second opinion. I hear too many stories about people buying homes and land for a steal simply because it was poorly presented and sold without understanding. 

Acknowledge the feelings of loss or grief for their home. The feelings they are undergoing should never be trivialised. 

Be aware of chatter about selling or renting the home immediately. There are many treasured memories and possessions associated with the home. It will take time for them to move on and let go of things. 

Don’t oversell the place where they are going. Be real. Don’t discuss the new place as if it’s a sparkling fairy castle, or as if it is terrible and shocking. It’s great to be positive, but be straight forward about some of the uncomfortable emotions they might experience as they transition to their next chapter and suggest ways they can address them such as talking to others about how they’re feeling and staying connected with their friends. Keep them informed and discuss the details of their new home, often.

You are now their confidante - the person they trust to help them make all the right decisions.

What is that line from Spiderman? “With great power comes great responsibility”? It’s not as intense as Uncle Ben speaking to Peter Parker but be sure to allow others to help. Don’t take over the entire process unless you’re asked to do so. Be sensitive to others and try not to smother. Remember, this transition could be hard for everyone involved.

It might be a good idea to mention that the memories will come with them and not be left behind.

Visit as much as possible, both during and after their move, and know that it matters when you are around.

Ask for permission to be there and don’t turn a blind eye to what’s happening. Be involved every step of the way. You are needed.

Call in on them and organise family or friend gatherings often, not only on holidays and birthdays. They need your presence, not presents! Try to be involved in the personalisation of their new home.

The new home should become as cosy and loved as the one from which they have come. Make sure special belongings are treated with the care and respect they deserve - with the most important items there waiting for them.

It is my belief, and as demonstrated in the strength of my long-standing business, that it will all be for the best. This is especially so if your loved one and you move through the process in the right manner, together.

Stockland commissioned the Author to compose this article for publication by Stockland for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the topic, and not to provide specific advice for your specific circumstances. Stockland recommends you seek independent legal and financial advice before making any decision. The views, information, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the Author, and are not necessarily held by Stockland.

Stockland has not contributed any of the information in the article and passes it on without endorsing or adopting its content. Stockland does not warrant or represent that the information in this article is free from errors or omissions or is suitable for your intended use. Subject to any terms implied by law and which cannot be excluded, Stockland accepts no responsibility for any loss, damage, cost or expense (whether direct or indirect) incurred by you as a result of any error, omission or misrepresentation in information. Published January, 2020.