Families must make a number of important decisions when an aging relative decides the time is right to move into an assisted living facility. Such facilities help older individuals who are having troubling living independently. In addition to finding the right facility for a loved one, many families have to decide what to do with their aging loved one’s home.
Aging individuals with companions such as a spouse or a live-in partner may not need to sell their house if that person will not be moving to the assisted living facility with them. However, many partners choose to move as well, and family members may need to sell their current home in order to pay for their loved one to stay at an assisted living facility. The senior care experts at Caring.com note that selling a home when a loved one decides to move into an assisted living facility can present some emotional aspects that will not necessarily be present when selling one’s own home. In recognition of that and some additional difficulties associated with this unique situation, Caring.com offers the following tips to help families navigate the process as smoothly as possible.
Consider assigning someone power of attorney.
Individuals move into assisted living facilities for a number of reasons, so not everyone will do so because of diminishing cognitive abilities. However, Caring.com notes that selling the home of a loved one diagnosed with dementia can present unique challenges, as only a homeowner can transfer a home to a new owner. In such instances, someone may need to step in and assume power of attorney. Contact an elder law attorney to facilitate that process, if necessary. Such professionals also can provide insight into laws that can help families determine if it’s best to sell the home or hold onto it if proceeds from a potential sale are not needed to pay for a facility. Arrange for power of attorney or even a guardianship prior to putting a home on the market.
Discuss the situation and the sale.
Aging individuals should be given ample time to process the idea of selling their homes before moving into an assisted living facility. Homeowners make untold sacrifices to buy and maintain their homes, so the decision to sell could elicit a range of emotions that aging individuals have a right to process before a “For Sale” sign is erected in the front yard. Caring.com recommends maintaining an open and honest dialogue about what can be achieved by selling the home and how their quality of life will benefit from moving to the assisted living facility.
Sort through belongings.
Caring.com notes the significance of allowing aging relatives to take special items with them into the assisted living facility. It will be impossible to take a lifetime’s worth of possessions into such a facility, but sort through belongings with your aging family member and do everything possible to ensure that especially meaningful items can make the move. Remaining items can be donated, sold, given to younger loved ones, or discarded.
Make sure all relevant parties remain in the loop.
If one person accepts power of attorney or a similar level of responsibility, that person should ensure all interested parties remain in the loop about the sale process. Aging adults without diminished mental faculties should be routinely updated on the sale process. Keeping all interested parties in the loop reduces the risk of objections or other problems when the sale is set to go through.
Selling a home before moving into an assisted living facility presents some unique challenges that families can tackle together to ensure the process goes smoothly.