Tulsa Moving Blog - Tips, Tricks, and Insider Info
June 28, 2018

Parents Downsizing? A Guide to A Smooth Transition

by Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group

Moving - Parents MovingWhen it’s time for your parents to downsize in Tulsa, it is tough on the entire family. Baby boomers are the last generation of Americans that didn’t move around much—so undertaking a move from a house that holds decades of memories is rough for the entire family. But, there are some suggestions for a smooth transition, so take heart and read on.

Plan Ahead

In a perfect world, you have been privy to your parents’ health care and finances for a couple years before they scale down or move to a senior living community. If your world is not flawless and you do not have a clue, get informed on these two specific items as soon as possible, and stay up to date moving forward. You definitely don’t want to have a health or financial crisis and be completely in the dark as to their situation. Questioning your parents about their finances is difficult, but being surprised when you learn your dad's “best friend” is that Nigerian prince stuck in the Tokyo airport and has gotten all his money is more difficult.

Have the talks when there is no rush, and your mom does not feel like you’re pushing her to move from her house. The more you and your siblings discover over lunch, the better off you'll all be when you have to make rulings quickly. Convene with their attorneys and doctors to ensure that you can help manage things if needed and that you can obtain medical and health care records if there is an emergency. These two items are crucially important if you're more than one or two hours away, as you might need to manage things remotely. HIPAA maintains that even if your mom's doctor was your second-grade t-ball buddy, without the right permissions in writing, they cannot disclose any information to you.

What to Take?

For lots of families, picking one sibling to be the person in charge of legal issues pales in comparison to figuring out who will decide what moves to the new residence, what will be donated, and which sibling keeps the family silver. Do not let this create a family argument, your parents are moving and will most likely keep the china and silver. Besides, most downsizes mean a substantial loss of space—going from a three or four-bedroom house to one or two bedrooms and one living space--so there is a plethora of things to go around.

Once your family has determined that downsizing is best for your parents, if they will be going to a senior community, there is typically a waiting period of a couple months prior to being able to move in. Most communities renovate the units ahead of when a new resident moves in. If the prior resident had been there for several years, they might do a complete update—so you'll commonly get items like new counters and appliances, Wi-Fi, and updated bathroom components along with fresh paint and flooring. These weeks offer your parents time to adjust to the thought of moving, especially if they are going to a new town.

Obtain a copy of the floor plan of their new home or apartment. Some retirement communities will hand you not only a floor plan, but some peel-off furniture stickers so you can actually place the furniture and accessories. The stickers can be moved all about the paper, so you can change it up until you find the best layout. This is a big help emotionally, knowing prior to moving day what they can take with them and how it will take up the space. Surrounding themselves with familiar belongings and mementos can take some of the sting out of leaving home.

Downsizing - MovingLeading up to Moving Day in Tulsa

Moving day for your parents is going to be tough, even if you are very organized, and however much they're glad to vacate the house and not have to deal with the yard anymore. Here's a brief agenda to get ready for the big day, giving you about eight weeks to get prep.

Two Months Out

Hire a professional moving company. Look at your budget to decide if you want a full-service move, a la carte (pick and choose what services the movers do) or get a moving truck and do it yourself.

Think about if you'll require any storage, and where you want it to be. The majority of moving companies provide storage options, which can be very useful. Some people aren't sure what will really work in the new space and would like to have a few extra alternatives before they make the final decision. In addition, when college-age kids are around, some families opt to store old chairs and other items that could be used in first apartments.

Commence thinking about what you parents can move, what you and your siblings want, and what to give to charity. However you opt to divvy up, you will want to indicate what goes to whom. Assorted colored small sticky notes are a wonderful way to note things, so that the correct items wind up going to the correct destinations.

Discuss with your parents on what to donate--although the idea of a garage sale is tempting, if cash flow is not an issue, you'll probably do better donating most items and taking the write-off. If they have valuable items, ask a local antiques dealer to appraise them before you give them to a charity. Some charities, like Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, and the Salvation Army, will even dispatch a truck to pick-up your donations. Call a few days or so out to schedule pick up.

One Month Out

Begin cleaning out cabinets, closets, the basement, garage, etc. If you have more belongings than ambition, employ a company to come clean out once you have gotten everything that you want out of the home. This is definitely worth the charge, especially if you live out of town and your parents are having a hard time with the move. You can also plan to have the moving company load up the household goods and personal things before the rest of the home is cleared out, sparing your mom and dad from viewing their house looking empty and lonely.

If you're doing your own packing, get good-quality moving supplies. The moving company will offer the best quality at the lowest prices and can provide packing tips. Again, pull out the sticky notes for the boxes or be organized with keeping everything in order. If all of the family is nearby, it is simple to bring over some big tubs and be able to leave later with old yearbooks and swim team trophies all packed up in your vehicle. That's many times not the case, so as you pack boxes, label them accordingly and set them in the recipient's bedroom or stake out corners of the living room.

One Week Out

Confirm your plans with the moving company, both for the move to the new home and putting items in storage. If you are not positive the amount of storage you'll require, they can help you in figuring it out, you will most likely truly need twice the space you think.

Moving Day

Plan a two-prong strategy for this day. Have one sibling, grandchild or friend accompany your parents out for breakfast, and then on to their new house. You or a sibling stay behind to oversee the movers. Ease as much worry as you can that morning, so when the truck gets to their place your parents aren't tired and anxious. Help them unpack and get settled, and don't be shocked if they have a dinner invitation already—they're the new kids on the block and everyone will want to meet them.

Ready to begin planning a move to Tulsa? Let A-1 Freeman assist. Click here to get started.

The Mickelson Family
The Mickelson Family
Best. Move. Ever!
Very pleased with the overall respect and care the men gave to my possessions. Even mailing me very quickly the only thing lost in transit. Would recommend to anyone needing a long distant move.
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