When you or an aging loved one decide the time is right to move where they can safely continue to age at home, there are several important decisions to make. In addition to finding the right residence and continuum of care, many families have to decide what to do with the home that is no longer working for a new stage of life.

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 a new place with them. However, many partners choose to move as well, or a current home may have to be sold in order to pay for monthly rent, facility fees, and ongoing caretaking.

The senior care experts at Caring.com note that selling a home in these circumstances 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 power of attorney. If you feel you are years away from making these decisions, that means it’s the right time to consider who you trust and would want to have your power of attorney to sell your home. This is a major legal move that you do not want to make under duress or, not be able to make the move on your own at all.

Individuals move into senior living centers or assisted living facilities for a number of reasons. However, Caring.com notes that selling the home of a loved one diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s can present unique challenges, as only a homeowner can transfer a home to a new owner. This is the type of situation where 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 or resources 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.

Discuss the situation and the sale. If you are taking control and leading the change for a loved one, that individual should be given generous time to process the idea of selling their home before moving. 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 a senior or assisted living center.

Sort through belongings. Caring.com notes the significance of taking personal items to a new home, particularly when you or a loved one might need memory care. If you are helping someone move, budget extra time to sort through belongings with them and do everything possible to ensure that meaningful items can make the move. Keep in mind that you can make this list for yourself years before you are expecting to make this life change. This would also be a good place to note that you should have both a will and advanced healthcare directive in place to mitigate any confusion in an emergency situation.

Make sure all relevant parties remain in the loop. Keeping all interested parties in the loop reduces the risk of objections or other problems arising just when the sale is set to go through. If one person accepts power of attorney or a similar level of responsibility, that person should ensure all interested parties, including the homeowner, remain updated about the sale process.

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