A common reaction we get from seniors who are facing having to move is resistance to change, even when the change can be for the better.
“This house is all I’ve known for 43 years. All my stuff is here and everywhere I look I see gifts from relatives and special mementos. I’ve already lost my husband, most of my friends, and I’m losing my health. Moving into a retirement condo means I have to lose everything else too!”
This is a tough one. Although it appears this senior is concerned about the move, she may be more concerned about a loss of identity. She has been in the role of wife, friend, and independent adult with her own space and her own things for over half her life. Becoming a widow and a dependent are roles she never planned and doesn’t enjoy. She is losing her sense of self and may be associating the house she can no longer maintain with her last bit of independence and individuality.
I might answer her concerns like this: “Mrs. Salliers, I can see this is a difficult time for you filled with unwelcome change. I can’t know how you are feeling, but I CAN share a few ideas and a little bit of information that might help. Nothing can replace all you have lost, but that doesn’t mean you can’t discover new things. First, the Caraway Condos offer a vibrant community of active seniors like yourself, and an opportunity to meet new people—maybe even find new friends. I’ve had several clients who were unsure, as you are, about making this move but within a few weeks, they usually call to tell me how much they’re enjoying their new lifestyle, how many new and interesting people they’ve met, how involved they are with activities and how their lives are much fuller than they expected. They absolutely blossom in their new environment! I can’t guarantee that for you, but I will say there’s an excellent possibility you will find similar rewards. But please be patient with yourself. Change is hard. You’ll need to give yourself time to adjust and discover what works best for you.”
One way to ease the resistance to change is by creating a “Memories Book” that includes photos and notes about the special items she’ll be selling or giving away. Ideally, a child or grandchild will help, providing an important opportunity for family stories to be shared. It won’t be a fast project, but preserving memories will ease the process of change, helping a senior retain their identity while making this life transition.
It’s never easy, but I can share from my experience with other clients that the transition will mark a new beginning, not an ending. Being a Senior’s Real Estate Specialist means my job is more than just helping to sell or buy a home, but also to make the transition as easy as possible for my clients and their families.